Young Zimbabwean fashion designer, Immaculate Kwashira, has found her niche in designing wedding clothing for men, and dreams of expanding her startup label Immaculate-D, into a colossal fashion house.
But her aspirations are not without challenges given the poor state of the national economy.
Kwashira studied fashion and design at Chinhoyi University of Technology, and is now out to conquer the fashion design world.
The 24-year-old works for JayTee Clothing in Harare, but clocking out at 5pm does not mark the end of the day for her.
Instead, she goes home to start working on her personal designs, which blend normal fabric and unconventional accessories like animal skin that she says tell a story about Zimbabwean culture and ancient tradition.
“I feel it creates identity for us as Zimbabweans so I’m bridging the past and the present, living in the modern world and taking that which once existed like in my design taking like the leopard print and the shield, symbolized power and authority,” she said.
So what makes her designs unique?
“What’s unique about my designs are the shapes like I take the shield, the tools that were used in the past, basketry, the weaving part, the way people used to construct, so that’s what makes my signature,” added Kwashira.
The young designer says she draws her inspiration from acclaimed Italian men’s wear designer, Giorgio Armani, whose personal fortune tops $8 billion.
Like many startups, Kwashira's label is feeling the pinch of the economy.
But she is hopeful her fortunes can improve for her to attend the World Fashion Week, normally hosted by big fashion capitals like New York, Paris, London and Milan.
For now though, Kwashira is working hard to satisfy her growing number of customers and pushing her clothing through small time means of marketing.
“I market myself, I have a magazine that I have,” she said. “I talk to people via Whatsapp, business cards, the magazine and I have done a fashion show which is the fastest way to market yourself as a designer.”
Her designs are available at www.zimfashionweek.com and can also be contacted by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.