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Lifeline for Zim fashion industry

Zimbabwe Fashion Week (ZFW) founder Priscilla Chigariro has opened up on the showcase’s unprecedented two-year hiatus before a rebound edition that started on Thursday and ended yesterday.

By Kennedy Nyavaya

Zimbabwe Fashion Week founder Priscilla Chigariro shares notes with fashion enthusiasts during a cocktail that was hosted last week

Arguably the premier fashion runway in the land, ZFW, which ran under the theme Rebirth this year, had reportedly left a vacuum in the sector when it folded as other players who attempted to set up fashion shows failed to reach the same level.

During a press briefing at The Space in Harare, Chigariro said the “negativity” around the event had replaced personal joy prompting her to pull the plug.

“I had several challenges with some of the people I was working with and for me, because it was a project that was very close to my heart, it was kind of disheartening,” said Chigariro.

“I had given up the idea of ever doing fashion week again, but after a while having started working with designers I got really inspired to do it again.”

During the period Chigariro endured severe public scrutiny, but she insists that the bad publicity was a blessing in disguise as it brought a lot of attention to the event itself.

“It actually helped in a way because more people were curious about the event, so I would not say there was a lot of damage that was done,” she said.

This year ZFW roped in New York-based designer Evelyn Lambert, photographer Louise Phillippe De Gagoue, designer and stylist Mickey Freeman, designer Antoinette Marie as well as South Africa’s Andiswa Maxiwa.

A bevy of 20 local and 20 international models graced the runway in what Chigariro said was an attempt to “elevate how we do everything in fashion in the country” in line with other countries in and out of Africa.

“This is why we always invite international guests like our face producers and designers so that they help in educating us on what people are doing in other countries and also help us elevate the standards that we have in the country,” she said.

Meanwhile, the comeback also served as a launch of their magazine as Chigariro pledged to stay in the game and raise the standards.

“That is why I came back to reinvest in this to do it the best way and show people that I care about it,” said Chigariro, adding that they would rejuvenate the industry.

“I think as we go forward, things will continue to get better, fashion week will get better and hopefully become more internationally relevant, which is exactly what our goal is.”

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