Zim designer challenges US brands

Tawanda Blessing Mukada is passionate about fashion - and his home province of Manicaland. As a way of doing justice to both, he has established his own urban fashion house, which he aptly named Manicawear Clothing.

Proud of his own label - Mukada.
Proud of his own label – Mukada.

“It all began when I was at primary school,” he told The Zimbabwean. “When I reached teenage years, I discovered how fashion and my creativity skills could complement each other and decided to study fashion and fabrics at Secondary School.

“I realised that our generation was wearing labels of American Origin – like Sean John, Tommy Hilfiger, LV and Gucci, but not those of African origin.”

Love and passion alone would not make the venture successful, so Mukada researched the subject, discovering Terry Gunz and his Harare Hustler movement, and Efrijah Gray Rwangah with his Blackamoor movement. This gave him confidence and in September 2009 Manicawear Clothing was launched in the UK.

“I wore my own brand to college every day. People would ask where I had bought my t-shirts. Those from my local town of Hackney really supported me. I made 10 t-shirts and gave them to familiar “faces of Hackney”, including bartenders, storekeepers and a few college friends.

Within a year Manicawear Clothing was the talk of the town. He was nominated Fashion Designer of the Year at the Zimbabwe Music and Arts Awards last year and won the Urban Fashion Designer of the Year award at this year’s Zimbabwe Achievers Awards.

The company’s most successful brands are KING OF SWAGGER and QUEEN OF SWAGGER – specializing in urban and cultural clothing, including university jackets, hoodies, university hoodies, T-shirts, wooden hats, snap backs and sweaters.

Mukhada, 33, says he is working hard to increase the numbers of artists, actors, and business owners from across Africa and Europe wearing his brand.

“A dream turns into reality when you get to believe in what you want to achieve. I would like to see my clothing label being a household label in Africa, Zimbabwe, and America. With the amount of work that I’m injecting at present, I am hoping that my clothing line would one day become the leading supplier of Urban and Cultural Fashion globally,” he said.

His drive and dream are simple: “Everything good and inspiring keeps me moving on and living life.” He also wishes to return to his homeland one day.

“Of course I do wish to return home. I’m proudly Zimbabwean, and that is why I am not ashamed to represent my country – hence the name of my clothing line and some of my brands,” he said passionately.

“I am looking forward to begin operations in Zimbabwe no later than September 2014. We do have other operations we intend to establish in Zimbabwe under Manica Investments, including transport and logistics. We are also looking into supporting the tourism sector,” said the energetic entrepreneur, who has also recently enrolled for a Degree in Biomedical Science.

Post published in: News

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