Fashionista makes waves on international scene

0302-1-1-DESIGNER12Tawanda Matanhire Lifestyle Reporter
IT is everybody’s dream to make it big on the international scene, especially in a sector regarded as difficult to penetrate. This would be a field which is normally regarded as a preserve of the best in the world. Talking of fashion designing, it is not be a stroll in the park for someone from Zimbabwe to make it where the Italians, French and Germans, among others, rule the roost and straddle the world of fashion like colossuses.

But Zimbabwean fashion designer, Samerah Hannah has burst that mythical bubble by invading the fashion scene by storm, following the establishment of her fashion line called Christos.

Based in Hangzhou, China, Samerah, who is a firm Christian, believes that the inspiration and vision behind Christos comes from God, hence the decision to name it Christos after Jesus Christ. The affable lady was modest about her talent, saying that she was much more of a visionary than a fashion designer.

“Christos was officially launched in Hangzhou on March 7 2016 and has currently reached borders beyond Asia through great partnerships with young believers in different lands including Zimbabwe, England, Canada and Australia,” she said.

“I wouldn’t call myself a designer as much as I would call myself a visionary which makes it a bit hard to answer your question because I have faced challenges more as a young African woman who is multi-talented, owns a Christian clothing line and is abroad more than I have as a designer. Working on what I want done for Christos, how I want it designed is pretty easy; it’s when I have to work with other people like manufacturers were it gets frustrating because they have their own way of understanding what I am saying I need done and sometimes they prefer to do what they feel should be done.

“So the challenge for me in relation to designing is being patient with people and understanding that people are not going to understand the vision God has given me hence the need to patient with them,” explained Samerah.

The down-to-earth designer attributes her vision behind founding the fashion line to God, adding that networks across different parts of the world also made it easy for windows of opportunity to open up for her to market her products.

“God inspired me to start the brand when He spoke to me about it late 2015. I didn’t pray more on it until He began to connect me to young men and women of God, young entrepreneurs from different parts of the world. Being connected with them heightened my faith and also inspired me all the more.

“God did wonders when united young believers helped me in planting Christos stores across the world. With His help and grace it will one of the few Christian clothing lines providing authentic yet stylish Christian wear for all believers and non-believers while at the same time also giving back to the less privileged. It’s not just a clothing line and that’s the beauty of it all. So much has come to fruition through it,” she said.

Samerah says it makes business sense to always make use of the wares that are readily available in the area or country where one is working from.

“I live in China. So most of what I use obtained from there. Most of what I use in terms of videos and photography I got from China and I use it there or whenever I travel. Most of the Christos material, T-shirts, hoodies, caps and beanies which will be on sale soon are from China, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Because it’s a brand that has ambassadors in various countries, I always want to use what is readily available in the country where Christos is.

“Anything in regard to Christos at this point is available on its official website christosapparel.com. Links to more social network pages, where people can stay updated on what Christos is doing or has already done, are available on the website as well.

It’s also currently being sold in England and China more than any other country and for information on how to purchase any Christos product there and in other countries like Norway, Sweden, Australia, South Africa and even Zimbabwe, information on of the ambassadors of the brand is available on the website,” she said.

Samerah however feels that the Zimbabwean fashion industry is under-estimated despite its great potential. “The Zimbabwean fashion industry has a lot of gifted people who I feel are not given enough platform to showcase what they were born to do due to various reasons.

“I see, hear and meet a lot of creative and imaginative people who know a lot about fashion, but I do not see sources of income to get the necessary resources to pen down all the creativity and actually establish their own companies or their brands so to speak. Other than that I think Zim fashion is authentic, beautiful yet under-estimated,” she laments.

Education, as the golden adage always says, is the key that unlocks great potential wherever one goes in the wide world.

“I am 25 and I was studying Hotel Management at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China and when I was done I pursued online studies in Business and Management and I had my degrees from there,” she said.

Talking of role models, the designer said she was shaped into what she is today by the positive influence of two special women in her life with God as her towering pillar. “I have had two great female role models. The first one is my mother because she has always believed in me and supported me and to see her do that as a single mother encouraged and still encourages me not to quit.

“My second role model is my Aunt Tinna Mereki, founder and CEO of Yenatti fragrances in South Africa. “I feel like I have watched her evolve into a ‘go-getter’ yet still maintains her integrity as a woman of God. “She is a business woman and a servant of God which I am as well. “Both my mother and my aunt have and always will be my best role models.”

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