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Zim designer charts new territory

Zimbabwean designer Sabina Mutsvati of Cheukwa makes history by becoming the first Zimbabwean to showcase at this year’s prestigious Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW) in Kingston, Jamaica from June 6-10.


An avant garde designer who studied Fine Art at Harare Polytechnic College, Mutsvati has showcased at numerous fashion events throughout Zimbabwe most notably: Zimbabwe Fashion Week, The Castle Tankard, Cottco Fashion Show and the Vasikana Vedu Exhibition and HIFAshion at Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa).

Her unique, yet distinct and signature style of statement pieces and designs resulted in her, heading costume design for the opening nights of Hifa 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Mutsvati’s designs, a witty combination of provocative and eclectic, conscious and dramatic, all make for her signature and distinct creations.

Her collections vary both in inspiration and execution with Mutsvati imprinting bold statements in her craft like her Bread Dress, where she used 30 loaves of toasted bread to make a dress.

She also made a dress out of female condoms, to highlight the importance and significance of sexual education within and throughout the community.

Her 2012 collection which showcased at Zimbabwe Fashion Week, was inspired by re-cycling incorporated the use of re-cycled materials including brooms (mitsvairo), bottles and plastic.

Website HauTe Fashion described the collection as “. . . [one]that can get you swept away [literally] with its styling that made use of broomsticks. Careful consideration was definitely taken in the detailing of the pieces that not only feature these brooms, but wooden geometric frames embedded in layers of fabric.

The designer also made a few political statements with the incorporation of fresh leaves and empty soda bottles in some of the designs — indicating her fashion consciousness and sensitivity to issues affecting the world”.

In addition to this, Mutsvati has also worked and collaborated with the Zimbabwean film industry as Costume Set Designer for the following award-winning plays and movies:

  • Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nyami Nyami and the Crocodile Man
  • Rumbidzai Katedza’s Playing Warriors and The Team
  • Patience Tawengwa’s Zimbabwe: The Best Country, as well as the recently premiered movie Gringo: Chikwambo Chiya Chadzoka

Highly sought after by prominent local musicians and personalities, Mutsvati has dressed the likes of Chiwoniso Maraire, Victor Kunonga, Dudu Manhenga, Hope Masike and poets Linda Gabriel, Batsirai Chigama and Cynthia Marangwanda.

Caribbean Fashion Week is the Caribbean region’s biggest fashion, lifestyle and entertainment event. The five day, five night fashion and music extravaganza features top designers from the Caribbean and the wider world, as well as supermodels, superstar performances, after parties, workshops and an exhibition hall for designers. The event promises to be the best and most exciting renewal of this landmark event, in its 13-year history.


This year marks the first year that a designer from Zimbabwe will showcase at Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW).

As one of the top stylists from Zimbabwe, Mutsvati will show a collection highlighting the current quality of Zimbabwean fashion to the gathering.

Out of Ethiopia, collections from top stylists Mafi and Fitkirte Addis, as well as supermodel Yardanos, will grace the runway.

Ethiopian superstar Kuri will open for American pop sensation Kelly Rowland. In previous years Nigerian designer Deola Sagoe has shown exquisite collections at CFW.

However, with both Zimbabwe and Ethiopia on show this year, CFW is clearly building a fashion bridge between Africa and the Caribbean.

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