Zim designer makes waves

Zimbabwean-born fashion designer, Rumbie Muzofa, takes her art seriously and has great vision for the future of the industry in which she works. She spoke to Sofia Mapuranga about how she became a successful designer.

Rumbie Muzofa
Rumbie Muzofa

When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

When I was young I used to love drawing. The more I drew and designed over the years, the more inspired I got. My parents were also very instrumental. I did not even know one could have a career in fashion design but they educated and encouraged me in the field of fashion. They really helped me understand my talent and nurtured it.

Thanks to you, textiles was introduced as a new subject at Moleli High School in Mashonaland West. Why did you do that?

After passing my ordinary level, I knew I wanted to study fashion for my advanced level studies but the subject was not available at Moleli High School. With the help of two other girls, we approached the headmaster and told him about textiles, a subject we heard was being taught in other schools. It was approved but with a lot of struggling.

What are some of the challenges that young designers like you face in Zimbabwe, the region and globally?

I think it’s mostly not enough financial and educational support systems. In Zimbabwe, people have now warmed up to fashion as a business. Back then if you dared to say, “ I want to study fashion” people would be surprised.

We need systems that support young entrepreneurs and fashion schools that teach not only the skill but the business of it. Young designers struggle to meet the expense demanded by the business of fashion and still make a living.

I was fortunate enough to have been mentored by a South African celebrity designer, Nkhensani Nkosi, founder of Stoned Cherrie. I learnt a lot from her and received a lot of exposure regarding the business side of fashion and I am slowly applying those lessons as I expand.

What do you love most about your career as a designer?

Seeing my creation come alive is so fulfilling. My best moments are when my clients are fully satisfied with my product. Women love clothes and looking good so it is refreshing to see how much they like my designs.

What has your best design been to date?

Every new design is the best at the time I come up with it. Unfortunately, I cannot pick one design. Currently, I am working on ideas for my next range after Zimbabwe Fashion Week. Designs are like children, it is virtually impossible to pick a favourite.

Where do you see yourself in the next five or ten years?

If my brand is in a couple of international stores in the next five to ten years, that would be a goal attained. I am planning to venture into shoe and accessory design too. In the meantime I will keep working and perfecting my product.

What advice would you give to aspiring young designers?

When you design, design for the world not for a Zimbabwean market only. When you make the clothes, make them to the highest possible quality. Excellent work and craftsmanship should be at the forefront. Embrace fashion technology and business studies, because creativity alone will not make it a viable business. – Rumbie Muzofa will showcase her collection ‘infinite ignis’ at the Zimbabwe Fashion Week 2013 at Sam Levy’s Village, Borrowdale, from August 29 to 31.

Post published in: Arts
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