CLOTHES, hair and accessories are the major elements that define style – and for long Zimbabweans have relied on foreign products. But not anymore.
The Zimbabwean fashion scene is steadily developing, with the market slowly embracing high quality local designer wear.
From accessories to garments, local designers have been displaying extraordinary creativity of international standards.
New on the scene and causing waves are two sisters, Lorraine and Leonorah Mugariri, who last week held their first fashion show in the capital, where they presented their products.
Their line, Maison Du Style, recently debuted at a fashion show at an upmarket Harare club, which was graced by high profile socialites, designers and fashion lovers.
Apart from the food and drinks, together with singing, dancing and piano performances – the runway show – which was directed by Karin Evans Davidson with models from Top Model, was as top-notch as they come.
To show the seriousness of the show, renowned fashion photographer, Mike Wall, was in attendance, working.
Maison Du Style, which translates from French to “House of Style”, is a “comprehensive lifestyle brand” that was started officially two years ago.
For the sisters, venturing into the fashion business came naturally, as they grew up as fashion and styling fanatics with Lorraine specialising in the fashion design aspect while her sister Leonorah is in the designing of accessories as well as selling and styling premium hair.
In Zimbabwe, like anywhere else in the world, fashion is a tough business to venture into. Lorraine said one of the challenges that the two sisters faced was balancing their private venture with their formal jobs. “Fashion business is time consuming,” said Lorraine.
It was, therefore, inevitable for both sisters to resign from their jobs to venture into the business full time.
Instead of rushing to open shops around town, the sisters took their time marketing their brand through social media, which showed them that it was being accepted
Global fashion and beauty brands the world over, have been using digital media and social media networks to engage innovatively with consumers. In Zimbabwe the beauty brand, Vault Cosmetics, by Jackie Mgido has used Facebook to gain clientele. This has proved highly effective, as Vault Cosmetics was last weekend successfully launched at Barbour’s department store.
In the case of Maison Du Style, the sisters, who are in their 20s, have used Instagram and their Facebook page to gain visibility, and avoid the costs related to outsourcing of advertising. Their advice to young Zimbabwean women is that “If you can go as far dreaming it, you can turn it into a reality”.