Be original, love your identity: Marufu

Phillip Marufu (in front) poses with an unidentified model  wearing one of his designs

Phillip Marufu (in front) poses with an unidentified model wearing one of his designs

Tafadzwa Zimoyo Arts Reporter
Renowned fashion designer Phillip Tichaona Marufu says “fashionistas” and designers should be proud of their identity and culture in their creations.

Marufu specialises in male designs from suits to casual couture.

The 34-year-old designer of the label “Armur Bespoke”, said the fashion was a cut throat business and to survive a designer needed to be extremely talented and innovative.

He said “Armur Bespoke” signifies the mind and identity of a people through clothing.

In an interview, Marufu said there were a number of designers mushrooming around but identity and creativity made the difference.

“A designer should boast of a wide range of skills which include vision, creativity, research, illustration and sewing.

“Other significant qualities to maintain in a successful fashion business are a high level of determination, focus and risk-taking to achieve the desired goals.

“We should be proud of our identity and culture hence this should be reflected in the garments (we design) instead of imitating what you see on television.”

He said he ditched popular foreign brands when he saw the need for a unique Zimbabwean identity that promotes local brands.

Marufu said he was inspired by his father who was a tailor.

“Fashion is something I can say I have inherited from my family. When I was growing up I used to play around with a lot of things making them into garments. I remember making a short from an old dust coat,” he said.

Apart from his passion, Marufu is a qualified designer from Drifontein Mission in Mvuma where he attained a diploma in tailoring.

He identified his role model as Ozwald Boateng, an English fashion designer of Ghanaian descent, known for his trademark twist on classic British tailoring and bespoke style.

“Locally, we need to catch up on trends but at the same time, know our identity. I love Ozwald Boateng’s unique style — how he managed to penetrate the industry.

“But most importantly, we need to appreciate and recognise each other as Zimbabweans,” he said.

Marufu dreams of dressing President Mugabe.

“I have so many designs and I use local material for all my designs. I wish to dress President Mugabe, Phillip Chiyangwa and Oliver Mtukudzi, among other prominent people in Zimbabwe.

“I design my own clothes and I have dressed a lot of people from celebrities to models,” he said.

To date Marufu, has participated in the Mozambique Fashion Week and also Zimbabwe Fashion Week.

He cited lack of exposure and financial constraints in the fashion world as some of the challenges he has had to overcome in his career.

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