Mbare – Harare. The poorest part of Harare since it was Salisbury is Mbare. Very popularly known for thieves, gangs, poor living conditions and the famous Market for cheap goods, this place also has people wanting to be part of the Zimbabwe fashion scene.
Now I asked Victor to write an article of life in Mbare trying to promote fashion. He hosted an event last year which was in poor attendance. What I think Mbare and other areas that have lower income people need is training. There needs to be training of short courses on business management, sewing, design, event planning within these communities. Another thing that is needed is teaching etiquette of business people and potential models on how to meet the standard of international models. This is the responsibility of the communities first of all to organise each other so sponsors can get involved and be a part of “bedazzling” Mbare like how Soweto/Gugulethu was rebranded to be a cool place.
Read about Victor Gwiza’s own input on the status-quo of Mbare business scene:
Edited by: Robin
Fashion is a lifestyle and way of life that has it’s part in society, it is a growing industry in Harare however not the case in Mbare. Known for poverty, gangsters, second-hand clothes not so much is known of Mbare fashion individuals. The fashion circuit of Mbare suburbs has not been at its best due to the fact that they has not been enough access to latest fashion trends. The low-income earnings mean the fashion choices are dominated by cheap clothing and second hand “Mazitye” – (deragatory term in Shona for second hand clothing). The potential of the fashion circuit in southern Harare has been affected by the distribution channels of these fashion products. For instance in Mbare, this is a place where you can easily find cheap clothes in places like mupedzanhamo and other local traders. This acts as competition to local fashion designers because the local people have the tendency of buying what they can afford.
The designers haven’t got enough opportunities because of consumers, especially wealthy people promoting imported products. For example women prefer to buy foreign products such as Versace, Louis Vuitton, G Armani, and Prada.
Whilst nothing is being done to promote our own productions like Gandanga, O’by fashions and many others.
There are some designers both up coming and experienced who have not been given the chance to be out in the industry. Designers in the southern parts of Harare are facing financial problems and require sponsorship. To make a living in the fashion world, you need to have enough money to acquire resources necessary to kick-start a good product that will do well in the market.
Another challenge being faced by designers in Mbare is the lack of exposure and media connections.
As a designer one needs to have connections within the industry and media exposure. People who are more privileged, government and fashion industry leaders are not scouting or promoting the upcoming designers in the Harare urban peripheries. The talent in this area are segregated from the mainstream fashion scene. It feels as though they are being judged by where they come from without being given equal chances.
Written by Victor Gwiza
Fashion promoter from Harare Southern suburbs. Victor hosted a fashion show for designers and models but he did not get the kind of response he wanted from the attendance.