Its handbags and glad-rags for first Fashion Week

priscilla_chigariroHARARE Fashionistas are set to come together in the capital for the first-ever Zimbabwe Fashion Week, scheduled to begin here on December 29. (Pictured: Organiser of Zimbabwe Fashion Week Priscilla Chigariro.)

The week-long gala event will see fashion designers from across the country sharing the limelight with their counterparts from the diaspora. The organiser of the inaugural event, South Africa-based Zimbabwean model Priscilla Chigariro, said: It will raise the level of awareness of fashion in Zimbabwe and designers who have been sitting on their laurels for the past years will stand up.

It will lead to competition among the younger generation as people will be able to compare their designs, she said.

The media launch in Sandton, Johannesburg attracted the fashion industrys movers and shakers.

Chigariro hopes the event will rekindle the fashion flare that characterised Zimbabwe before the economic meltdown.

The model has a solid ten years experience as a professional model, boasting a career that started with her clinching the Super Face title in the annual Supermodel Search run by Zimbabwe Sun Hotels in 2000.

This title earned her a right to represent Zimbabwe in the Face Of Africa competition the following year.

To date, Chigariro has worked on campaigns, advertisements and shows including the Vukani Fashion Show, SA Fashion Week, Guess Jeans campaign, Virgin Mobile, Coca Cola Lite, as well as doing shoots in publications such as ****Destiny Magazine, True Love, Elle Magazine, Cosmopolitan*** and ***Y Mag***.

Chigariro was only 18 when she won a contract to model in South Africa.

I have since modelled in Paris, Milan, Barcelona and, of course, around South Africa, she said. After 10 years, I have decided modelling is not the only challenge I want to conquer, but to also make and leave an indelible mark on the African fashion scene, hence the decision to host Zimbabwe Fashion Week.

Along the way, I have picked up many skills and developed many talents like interior design, project management and administrative skills.

Chigariro says she grew frustrated after creating a clothing and accessories brand, but found no platform to showcase the designs in Zimbabwe.

So I decided to do something about it. Fashion weeks all over the world have launched the careers of countless designers and created industries where previously there were none. I believe that there is a lot of talent in Zimbabwe that is only stifled by the lack of a platform such as this one, she explained.

Designers at Zimbabwe Fashion Week will each be expected to present a comprehensive collection of at least 12 garments. There will also be a competition for up-and-coming designers.

Chigariro hopes to unleash her own slick collection, Chrome, which she has been working on for some time.

The judges will be looking for originality as well as innovativeness. It is important to realise the world is going through a lot, economically as well as environmentally. They will be looking for designers that are aware of all these factors and how they translate them in their designs and fabric choices, she said.

She insists she does not want to position Zimbabwe Fashion Week as a strictly Zimbabwean affair.

I am finalising a list of industry heavyweights from South Africa who will be guest judges and will also present their collections to emphasise the spirit of oneness as designers and fashion consumers who live in one continent.

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