In 2011, aged 21, Zimbabwean Znzorzi Adby was one of six competing young designers who created five ‘earth friendly’ garments for Priscilla Chigariro’s ‘Think and Live Green’ Fashion Week extravaganza. Excelling in the competition, his emerging talent caught the eye of Johannesburg-based David Tlale, the glamorous and internationally-respected fashion designer whose collection wowed fashionistas at the Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week last September. Znzorzi then won a coveted year-long internship with David Tlale, and has now returned to complete his four-year degree in fashion design at Chinhoyi University of Technology. Znzorzi’s many admirers rushed to buy tickets to Fashion Week’s ‘Fashion Through the Ages’, an exciting annual event showcasing collections from Znzorzi, several other leading local designers, and from Capetonian fashion icon Gavin Rajah. The event ran from August 29-31, 2013 at Sam Levy’s Village, and no one was more delighted than Znzorzi himself when it was announced last Saturday evening that he had won the coveted title ‘Emerging Designer of the Year’.
Znzorzi said that his internship with David Tlale in Johannesburg was ‘like being in a furnace’ and that he was ‘pushed to the edge’ to realise his potential and develop his skills. Becoming a successful fashion designer is not all sweetness and light and sketching beautiful outfits — it involves advanced pattern making at the highest level, learning how to become an entrepreneur, brand building and marketing. A great fashion designer also needs to be a successful businessman.
The inspiration for Znzorzi’s collection which appeared on Saturday 31 August took shape in a garden in Jo’burg, where luscious purple dhalias and velvety purple petunias were in full bloom, and glossy aubergines ripened on their bushes. Instinctively feeling that this was the ‘now’ colour, ignoring both the past and the future, Znzorzi named his collection ‘Aubergine’ and chose purple French Duchess silk, floral cotton featuring purple, and crisp white honeycomb pique cotton, to create a range of outfits that is now the talk of the town.
A new interpretation of the formal look, Aubergine offers comfortable elegance that can be worn to work or to a wedding, office chic that translates into evening attire or state occasions dress code. Accessories such as shoes, handbags, jewellery and smoky, sensual makeup will complete the picture. A self-proclaimed messenger of style, Znzorzi would like women to appear ‘powerful and feminine’ while investing in a wardrobe that is versatile and affordable.
While working for David Tlale in Johannesburg, Znzorzi met Khanyi Mbau and fashion-conscious Julius Malema. Commenting on street fashion in Jozi, Znzorzi says the bare midriff look is big. Geometric print tops with floral bottoms are popular, as are pastel colours in lemon, mint and pink. In Zimbabwe the hi-lo look is still trending with skirts short in front and long at the back.
The soft-spoken Znzorzi has his country at heart, and has designs for a new uniform for Air Zimbabwe, and for corporate uniforms country-wide. Inspired by his mentor David Tlale, Znzorzi Adby is building a mega brand and plans to have stores throughout Asia, Africa and the US.
‘Inside every woman’, says Znzorzi, ‘is a lady who wants to be the prettiest in the the room.’ If the Aubergine collection can achieve this, the Znzorzi Adby brand is dressed for success.
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