After a hiatus of 4 years, the country’s premier fashion event is set to return this year in the month that is now internationally dubbed “African Fashion Month”, October.
Since 2009, Zimbabwe Fashion Week Trust, a non-profit organisation founded by model turned entrepreneur, Priscilla Chigariro has contributed to the development of the growing fashion industries in Zimbabwe and helped advance the careers of select local talent and celebrate the thriving fashion and retail community.
Over the past one and a half decades, the Zimbabwe Fashion Week Trust, through its events and development offerings, Zimbabwe Fashion Week and Young Designer’s Programme has managed to celebrate the creativity of multiple fashion designers from around the world on its fashion runway shows, advance young fashion designers’ careers by giving them the necessary skills to build their brands as well as giving them access to local, regional and international markets and effectively worked with numerous corporate brands and NGOs by utilising the fashion’s industry creative input to amplify each stakeholder’s brand to its target audience.
Historically held in various locations around the city of Harare, Zimbabwe Fashion Week will this year and going forward be held at the majestic Victoria Falls. This move was made because although the Trust is focused on the development of the fashion and textile industries, one of its other key objectives is to play its part in the development of the tourism industry. Hosting the fashion week at the Victoria Falls will encourage and highlight the destination not only as a spectacular tourist destination for safari, but as the gateway to the growing visual arts and fashion industries in Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls has the infrastructure to host an event that attracts international participants such as Zimbabwe Fashion Week as it boasts an international airport and ample accommodation.
According to to the Founder & Executive Producer Priscilla Chigariro, “being based in the US has opened a lot of doors for me in the fashion industry. Whereas the idea of fashion week had always been challenging to develop beyond the runway due to many constraints. I am now in the thick of the Western fashion world and have access to multiple avenues to promote African designers from our region. Besides the runway shows which will for the second season be produced by Andiswa Manxiwa, a Johannesburg-based runway show producer, a robust development program has been constructed which will run throughout the year helping rebuild the fashion industry from the grassroots level. Andiswa was the producer of the ZFW2018 fashion shows and her accolades include the production of Africa Fashion International’s Johannesburg and Cape Town Fashion Weeks.”
This year’s edition of Zimbabwe Fashion Week will be the first without an event-specific theme. However, an elaborate story detailing the inspiration behind the event’s new and permanent logo will serve as an ongoing theme for the event, “Cultural Preservation”. With this in mind, Zimbabwe Fashion Week will throughout the year execute development programmes that will fall under each of the event’s four pillars, The Shows, The Panel Discussions, Young Designers, and The Market.
“Zimbabwe Fashion Week’s return this year is a very special one especially with the main event taking place at one of the seven natural wonders of the World, Victoria Falls, it is definitely not one to miss. Our main focus as Zimbabwe Fashion Week this year and beyond is to not only create memorable fashion events but to actively work with key stakeholders in the industry to enable our fashion industry to contribute positively to our country’s GDP through exports of our cultural heritage, diversity, and creativity and offering platforms for young Zimbabweans to be able to actualise their creative vision and be competitive in the global marketplace” said ZFW incoming Director Mr. Marshall Mutsamwira.
One of the most notable success stories from previous editions of Zimbabwe Fashion Week is Ishmael Tsakatsa. He is the founder and head designer for the brand Zargue’sia. Born in 1992, Ishmael grew up with a love for unique fashion and style. He first appeared on the fashion scene at the Zimbabwe Fashion Week 2012, Young Designers Competition. He then launched his brand Zargue’sia in 2013 at Zimbabwe Fashion Week where he was nominated for the Emerging Designer of the Year Award. He went on to be awarded the ZFW Designer of the Year title at the Zimbabwe Fashion Awards in September 2014. In October 2021, Ishmael made national history by becoming the first Zimbabwean designer to debut at Paris Fashion Week with his “Stones of Fire” Spring / Summer Collection.