Zimbabwean fashion gives back to society

A fashion show held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, February 2010 (Zimbojam’s file photo)

Two days ago, Harare attended the opening of this year’s Zimbabwe Fashion Week. ZFW’s first edition  was launched by Priscilla Chigariro in October 2009.

Steppes in Sync decided to look at how fashion sector of  Zimbabwe contributes to the improvement of the society.

Fashion Gives Back is the brainchild of Charlene Mukuzvaza, a young woman living in the UK, who was  so moved by the beautiful yet haunting documentary Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children, that she enlisted the support of her fellow countrymen in the diaspora to create a fundraising event. They use the medium of fashion to benefit under-privileged children in Zimbabwe.

Back in 2009, Zimbabwe Benefit Foundation and  True Vision Foundation came together to provide tailor-made assistance to ten primary schools in Zimbabwe through payment of school fees and cultivating nutrition gardens onsite.

The event took place at BMW Sytner of Leicester, UK on August, 19. This  fundraising fashion show showcases both Zimbabwean talent and UK-based fashion retailers. All funds raised will go towards the education program. The organizer’s aim was to raise £2,500 from ticket sales, raffle tickets and public donations.

According to Shona Vixen, confirmed designers included Chipo Bespoke, whose collection was the star attraction at the  2010 Zimbabwe Fashion Week, and a rising multicultural label Ladie Rachie.

Joyce Chimanye, a talented Zimbabwean fashion designer with regard for her society’s needs

Another example of charitable efforts of Zim fashionistas is the work of the founder of the iconic Zuvva fashion house Joyce Chimanye.

Joyce Chimanye, 40,  featured in an article by Thando Sibanda in the May 2011 issue of Hello Harare! magazine, is one of the core founders of the Wana Wedu Foundation, a Chegutu-based orphan-care program. This foundation focuses on addressing health and educational needs of orphans in the high-density suburb of Pfupajena. The main activities include feeding, providing access to education and health for the. “At one time, we fed 100 kids in a day,” shares Joyce.

She participated in such charity-oriented shows as Ubuntu, the African Heritage Afro-Australian Fashion Evening held in Sydney in 2003 that supports HIV/AIDS orphans across Africa. She also took part in the Sandra Lee Centre Orphanage Charity Fashion shows in Mbabane, Swaziland in 2007 and 2008.

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