This year, the African Union (AU) declared the month of August Women’s Month. At the same time, a lot of events took place in the Harare fashion world to celebrate women with style. In this month’s column, I am going to highlight some events from both of these related spheres.
In celebration of the AU declaration, the Zimbabwe International Women’s Awards (ZIWA) was invited by Voice of America to participate in a panel discussion entitled, “Are women ready to lead?” at their radio studios on 22 August. The discussion centred on the candidates for the ZIWA awards and the Lesotho Finite Woman Appreciation Awards (FWAA).
The discussion was timely as ZIWA is currently preparing for its second annual awards in October which celebrate successful Zimbabwean women in all spheres. One of the awards up for grabs is Fashion Designer of the Year. The five nominees are: Danielle Allen of TIR Fashion, Heather Chitate of H.H. Feluna, Danayi Madondo of Haus of Stone, Lindiwe Muchaneta of House of Mucha and Evelyn Lambert.
Fashion bloggers will also be recognized by ZIWA with the Fashion Blogger of the Year award. Shortlisted nominees include: Mo Handahu for her blog Lion Hunter; Laurina Machite for Brightly Black; Chiedza Dinkie Mahere for her blog Diary of Smurf Dinkie; Norma Mwamuka for her blog Original MaNgu; and Mati Chinyanda for her blog L’entendre. Kuda Manyepxa and her Feso brand, featured in last month’s issue of Harare News, also received a nomination for Entrepreneur of the Year.
Unfortunately, Zimbabwe Fashion Week will not be taking place this year. The event was cancelled to make way for the launch of their new project, The Sp_ce – an innovative fashion showroom in Chisipite. Instead, this year Zimbabwe Fashion Week will continue to focus on their annual Young Designers Program, an initiative which will involve four young female designers being mentored by more established names.
The US Embassy also organised a free model’s workshop in August hosted by International Fashion Designer John C. Ablaza from Philippines who delivered tutorials and pointers in the fashion world.
Fashion blogger Tendai Kamusikiri of Signature Toscie (profiled in last month’s column) also teamed up with Lee Madyara (a fashion blogger who blogs on Hollywood Lee) and former Big Brother Africa contestant and owner of shoe emporium, Addicted to Shoes, Pokello Nare Kumordzie to share business and style lessons in celebration of Women’s Month at Moto Republik. Dubbed the “Zimbabwe Style Sessions,” the event – organised by Kamusikiri – celebrated style, fashion and owning your glamour. Speaking at the event, Kamusikiri – who is also the owner of the clothing line ELIXIR which is sold in her online store, Signature Toscie – says fashion and blogging needs to be taken seriously as a trade.
“We are celebrating Women’s Month in style. A lot of times as Zimbabweans, we fail to support each other. I think it’s a shame because we are such a small community. Why do we not embrace and support our own? Why not take it a step further and empower our own?” says Kamuskiri.
Edgars stores wrapped up Women’s Month on August 26 with the Edgar’s Zimbabwe Designer Initiative which showcased local designers. Dubbed ‘From Retail to Runway’ local designers were given a chance to produce garments for sale in their stores. For the first time in clothing retail industry history, the store partnered with local designers to produce clothing to be sold in their shops, providing a platform for young designers to grow, as well as for customers to wear locally manufactured brands.
All in all, Women’s Month 2016 was a great month for women, fashion and glamour!
Image: Women at the ‘Zimbabwe Style Sessions’ organized by Signature Toscie featured a host of fashion and business women, including Addicted to Shoes Founder, Pokello Nare Kumordzie (centre right).
Image credit: Tendai Kamusikiri