Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe, and street wear a distinct style of dressing.
Inspired by the city is Tanaka Leroy Samukange, a young fashion designer who designs graphic t-shirts, shirts, hoodies and clothing items.
Tanaka Leroy Samukange is an award winning designer of street wear fashion label 7:30 Apparel, inspired by the CBD of Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare.
Tanaka sent us samples of his t-shirt to have a feel and the quality was impeccable. Using different textures for the signature “04” that represents the telephone code for Harare, makes his clothes durable and street cool.
We decided to learn more about this budding talent in an interview and his styling tips.
So far as an emerging designer he has faced many challenges in terms of making it in the city that does not sleep, the very city the brand is inspired by.
“Major experiences as a designer is having to do almost everything to sell merchandise. This includes managing our online presence via our site www.seventhirtyapparel.com, brand management, public relations, marketing and selling to new markets,” says Samukange.
Although the work is cumbersome he has been doing a good job so far. In terms of branding 7.30 Apparel branding is definitely up to par with international branding with tags on all merchandise. The clothing has the logo on the tags and after purchasing customers get branded stickers that merge future marketing and brand awareness.
As well as selling in a retail store, Sage clothing store at Joina City mall the brand has street wear team brand ambassadors selling clothes through social networks.
“The 7:30 street wear team consist of people that to help spread the word about 7:30 apparel. Upon signing up you will instantly gain access to an exclusive fan community and the tools and resources you need to help spread the word,” says Samukange.
It is no wonder that his brand won the emerging fashion designers competition at Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe 2014.
In terms of styling a t-shirt he said that in terms of guys, he recommends a guys would
“Wear a pair of acid wash denim joggers, a pair of Jordans sneakers with Ray Bans sunglasses and a white 7:30 t shirt of course!”
The brand, 7:30 apparel is also for women as he adds on to say women have a way of making street wear clothing like his brand much more appealing.
But all is not well in the fashion industry for emerging designers in Zimbabwe.
What happens often after being awarded a prize to the emerging designers, is that the sponsors of the prizes end up being unable to fulfil their promises completely.
So while organisers of the initiatives to promote are present, the corporate companies that pledge to contribute end up pulling out after the show has passed.
Emerging talents in the industry are often forgotten after the competition stops trending and perhaps there lies another issue in how more corporates need to support the design industry.
Luckily for designers like Tanaka Leroy Samukange, the continued hustle to keep making a name out of his brand continues despite the hurdles.