Tafadzwa Zimoyo Arts Reporter
United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean designer Leah Mubwandarika is set to host a fashion show in the country for the first time under her label. The label, Leah African Designs, characterised by African couture, haute couture and glam-style ready-to-wear, has caused a stir in the United Kingdom with many celebrities spotting the label on red carpet events.
Mubwandarika is in Zimbabwe for two weeks and says she has held a meeting with some potential sponsors ahead of the fashion show, tentatively to run under the theme, “Leah African Designs Fashion Runway”.
“I came back for two reasons – the festive season and business. I have been in the industry for more than six years now and fashion plays a pivotal role in the life of people.
“I want to host my debut fashion show this April in time for end summer collection. I have been hosting shows abroad and so this is the right time.
“I have engaged a lot of corporates and other stakeholders so that it becomes a big thing. Everything is now on the table and we are due to finalise the dates and venue,” she said.
Mubwandarika, an International Diamond Recognition award winner, said the show will coincide with a women empowerment workshop launch that she is hosting.
“I have seen a lot of talented women designers and make-up artists, among others. The fashion show will be a night affair but during the day, I am planning to host a women empowerment workshop which will see some of the role models such as captains of industry taking part, sharing their experiences with women from the ghettos, especially those who are failing to make ends meet,” she said.
The workshop will be free of charge. The award winning designer said it was her dream to take part at this year’s Zimbabwe Fashion Week.
“My father has been my role model since day one. He is my pillar of strength and my personal assistant. He is happy with everything and said let’s give it a go.
“Zimbabweans should have the feel of the label live, not only checking it online. My dream this year is also to take part in the Zim Fashion Week. I am still to get in touch with the organisers,” she said.
Mubwandarika said the show will also open doors for her and other fashion enthusiasts.
“We have so many designs but the opportunity to showcase them is a challenge,” she said.
“Appreciation is also another factor with some people running for foreign labels like Gucci, Versace and Lousi Vutton, among others, forgetting we all have an identity. How then do we support each other if we don’t invest in each other?”