Tafadzwa Zimoyo Entertainment Reporter
United States-based Zimbabwean fashion designer Farai Simoyi has made headlines abroad after being listed as senior designer for US hip-hop singer Nicki Minaj.
Simoyi’s range includes hats, sunglasses, jewellery, dresses, swim and resort wear.
In an interview with The Herald Entertainment, Simoyi said it was a great honour working with such a major artiste’s brand.
“The opportunity to work and design for the Nicki Minaj Collection was presented to me by a distant relationship that turned into a friendship. I am a big believer in staying connected and keeping contacts within the industry because you never know when a simple connection can turn into the next big project for you,” she said.
She said her breakthrough moment came when she was hired as denim designer for House of Dereon juniors line, by Beyonce and her mother Tina Knowles.
“As a designer being approached by fashion icons like Beyonce was the first big assignment in my line of duty. That role was a growing experience for me as a designer and allowed me to understand how to design for a large celebrity brand. It also opened doors in my career to work with other clients such as Anne Klein, Rachel Roy, Robert Rodriguez, and now, Nicki Minaj,” she said.
Simoyi said her fashion line, which is called Farai, was inspired by everyday life.
“My mother Priscah Mujuru is my role model. She has taught me to love myself, believe in myself, and understand the value of me. My passion for design really started at a young age. A luxury of living and working in NYC is that your everyday surroundings are full of inspiration. I also love digging into my Zimbabwean culture for rich, bold, and colourful inspiration,” she highlighted.
Simoyi said she loved how the Zimbabwean fashion industry was growing.
“In 2012, I launched my brand in Zimbabwe and also held a Fashion Round Table discussion with some key players in the Zim fashion industry. I was happy to see all of the enthusiasm and eagerness to put Zim fashion on the map. However, I think there is still a lot to do, but if we continue to challenge ourselves and push for greatness then I think we will be something to look up to,” she said.
She later shared some of her secrets for success in business.
“Designing is a passion and there is need to create a business plan that outlines a plan of action, strategies and future goals of the company. Collaborate with other businesses and find ways to engage in cross promotion. You can also use every experience as a learning experience and a stepping stone for greatness,” she said.
Asked if she is planning to relocate and venture into fashion business in Zimbabwe, she said it was a process.
“I love to be home. Right now I am in the stages of planning and strategising my next steps. I would like to mentor, train and somehow incorporate young designers in Zimbabwe,” she said.
Simoyi grew up in Mount Pleasant, Harare, and moved to the US with her family at a tender age.
“I studied school at West Virginia University where I graduated with a degree in Fashion Design & Merchandising. I then, at 21, moved to NYC to pursue my dreams in the fashion world,” she said.