Fashion designer puts Africa, Zim on the world map

> Richmore Tera

Harare – FASHION designs like Gucci, Versace and Geogio Armani, among others, are dominating the world of fashion and most of these are from the First World countries like France, Italy, the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

More recently, Chinese and other oriental designs have taken the world by storm spilling over into the African market, despite the negative tag that is normally attached to them on the basis of being cheap labels, according to observers.

Although Africa has produced a plethora of big names who have made it across most influential sectors, the continent has not gone down into the annals of history by producing big names in the area of fashion design.

With the continent best known for its love of defining herself with the way that her people dress (take the Nigerians for instance), it would have been a cherry on top of the fashion cake for Africa to produce its designers who are known for tailoring and crafting the attire that some of the big guns adorn when they “bling” and flaunt themselves at most of these international platforms.

While the picture might look like that, it however does not mean that there are some African and Zimbabwean fashion designers who are making it on the international platform.

One of such people is none other than United Kingdom-based fashion designer, Pamela Samusuwo-Nyawiri, who is lifting the country’s flag high with her ethnic designs that are reflective not only of Zimbabwean but African themes.

Pam – as she is fondly called in her realm – says she derives much of her inspiration from her mother continent Africa as well as Zimbabwe.

“I am Zimbabwean and African at heart and everything that I do through my work is indicative of my roots, my passion and love for Africa,” she says.

Through her work, which is mostly fashion accessory, Pam tries to tell stories of the African continent without divorcing herself from the global issues.

“Nothing takes place in isolation and therefore all continents need one another for progress’s sake.

This is one of the messages that I always want to project through my work and try to tell the world that Africa is not a pariah continent but has a lot to contribute to the world,” she says.

In one posting, Pam is defined as “a person with a “forward thinking approach to design.

She has created her brand around a unique path of this idea of preservation of culture and devotedly protecting craftsmanship as a dying art form.

This ethical framework of ‘‘products that give back’ is committed to working with artisian communities globally, in an attempt to strengthen the social fabric of ethical fashion.”

No wonder why Pam is an award-winning fashion designer, and an African fashion advocate.   

The Vogue and Muuse Visionary Award and the Harper’s Bazaar and Abury Design Experience, have all recognized her work, a feat which shows that the trajectory that she is taking as an African fashion designer is gaining recognition on the world landscape.

By being nominated for the Vogue and Muuse Talents Young Vision Accessories Award in the “Best Emerging International  Fashion Accessories Designer” for the year 2014, Pam wrote her own piece of history by becoming the first ever African female fashion designer to be nominated for this prestigious award.

December 2015
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