Zimbabwe Fashion Showcase UK Starts On A High Gear

The inaugural Zimbabwe Fashion Showcase UK was held in Birmingham on Saturday 4 July 2015. The event was hosted at a location that seemed quite obscure and appeared tiny from the outside, but as you walked inside, you got welcomed by an inviting aura and cool atmosphere which hugely contrasted the very warm weather outside.

A couple of stalls had been set-up nearer to the reception area, selling accessories and curios, adjacent to large Zimbabwean flag, affixed on a partition board. As you walked further into the venue, there was a red carpet based catwalk, along the center mark of the building, and sitting areas for patrons either side of the catwalk. VIP and standard sitting areas were evenly distributed either side as well. That arrangement made the Crown Banqueting hall look reasonably exquisite and fitting for a decent fashion event.

Most of the guests were very late and the planned “12 Hours of Fashion” event did not kick off on time but commenced a couple of hours later than the scheduled 12pm start. Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Raymond Hassall gave some opening remarks, expressing his dismay on the time keeping (as he had arrived pretty much on time). He also expressed his understanding of such situations at the same time.

The modelling started up with a glitch but later went into a steady flow with designs being shown off by some young beautiful models. They were not stunning because they were size zero, but because they represented the regular person on the street with their not-excessively carved out figures and their confidence. With BBC’s Kevin Ncube and DJ Noksy sharing the hosting responsibilities, it was not a surprise to see the small crowd go into a cheerful mood.



Miss Loppy’s

Without following the presentation order, we would like to note the names of some of the designers who showcased at the event and say a little about what they brought to the catwalk;

Farai Simonyi got everyone at the edge of their sits, after it was announced that the New York based Zimbabwean designer was actually a Nicki Minaj fashion collaborator. Her collection did not disappoint at all.

Martha Kuuya-Seidu’s line was very striking with it’s  bright but not too sharp colours.

Jean Huni’s Messiah Couture was very decent and different but Laura Nyahuye’s body adornment pieces brought some serious diversity to the catwalk, which had been mostly about clothes a lot of the time.

The show’s organiser Chiedza Dawn Ziyambe changed the game up with her MissChii’s Lingerie line which sent some tongue’s waging. Her presentation was also unique and a bit edgy in the sense that, the girls came out chewing some candy floss as Zimbabwean rapper Money B ‘serenaded’ them with his lyrics.

MissChii's Lingerie

MissChii’s Lingerie

Money B’s musical performance wasn’t the only one of the night, others such as jazzy Chashe and Oluhle also took to the mic for the audience’s listening and dancing pleasure.

Money B however, did close the performances of the night, with an entertaining but abrupt set, before the main DJ went on free play session and everyone thronged the dance floor.

Earlier, Chiedza explained why the event, which was originally dubbed ‘Zimbabwe Fashion Week UK’, had changed it’s title to ‘Zimbabwe Fashion Showcase’. She said the former title limited the potential levels of display and activities the brand could get involved with and branding it as a showcase rather than a one off annual event allowed for a huge potential of more doors to open.

Food-wise, we managed to grab some nibbles during the first break and a plate of the main meal later on. The main meal was definitely filling and tasty as well, albeit pricey.

To wrap it all up, the event did not give us so much of an authentic Zimbabwean experience, as far as the fashion presentations were concerned. We think it probably left us thinking that Zimbabwean fashion is very open and not pinned to a certain type or way of dressing, or fabric family even, but is a mix of contemporary African styles fused with western influences and clever imaginations and innovations.

See more pictures below;

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