Designer with the Midas touch

Baison Kuguwe (left) hangs out with Moydean Banda (middle), a footballer, and B-Kay (right) during the Zim Achievers Awards

Tafadzwa Zimoyo
So unfashionable has the term “fashion” become to the extent that it has almost lost its true meaning and value. This word has been overused to the extent that it is no longer as “palatable” as it should be, and whoever thinks that they have the “swag” think that they are in sync with the vogue or better still, the trendiest fashion.

However, in as much as people might be addicted with this word and in most cases fail to grasp the true import of the word, there is at the core of fashion one key and typical attribute — and this is called style.

In Zimbabwe, the word style (staera) has found its way in virtually every sphere of life, from music, public transport, relationships and even in the workplace.

“Conduct your business in style (ita zvinhu zvako zvine staera).” “Ndini ndega ndine staera (I alone has the best style in town).”
“Staera yako handiifarire (I don’t like your style, the way that you do your things).”

All these are part of the lingo that has evolved out of and around the word style, which, forgive the joke, has all of a sudden become fashionable.
And talking about fashion, which in most cases is used to refer to clothes, a 29-year-old fashionista Baison Kuguwe who goes by the moniker “Kukz” has taken it upon himself to take it to another level by going deeper into what defines fashion by calling himself a stylist and not a designer.

According to Kukz, a stylist is “someone who helps in bringing out a person’s character through fashion or clothes”.
Kukz says what we wear defines our character and that is why it is always easy to tell an executive person from a loafer because their style of dressing or fashion sends out a clear-cut message to the world around them.

For instance, someone decked in a perfect and gentlemanly suit cannot be associated with the character of a beggar on the streets because it is against common knowledge that people dressed as such are of such kind of character.

Kukz recalls how he first came to terms with the importance of style in fashion.
“I first became obsessed with the meaning of style way back when I used to style my sisters and cousins as well as their dolls.

While most people would call me a designer, I felt I had to go and explore deeper into a person’s character, understand them better and then craft attire according to their unique qualities. Most fashion designers just like sewing what they feel will look good on their prospective customers but I always invest time in going the extra mile by knowing your character and then tailor-making your attire according to your character,” Kukz explained.

Although this passion was evident from an early age, Kukz confesses that he never dreamt that one day he would become an internationally recognised fashion stylist.

“I never thought that one day I would be a stylist in the strictest sense of the word. I have always wanted to become a physiotherapist and even enrolled for that programme with a university based in the United Kingdom. Yet my passion for style in fashion held sway that I diverted from it to fashion.

My break came in 2011 during a modelling show in the UK when the organisers approached me and asked who had styled my costume and everything that I presented on the ramp. So impressed were they with my presentation that when I revealed to them that I was a self-stylist, they did not hesitate to offer me a contract to style their models,” Kukz said.

That then marked the opening of windows of opportunity for the young artiste as the organisers advised him to further his blossoming career as a stylist, to enrol at an institution called First Impressions based in that same country.
“I specialised in styling, wardrobe and colour co-ordination. This led me to clinch deals with United States-based singer Emma Nyra whose song and video, ‘Kereshere’ became a hit early this year. Emma is a Nigerian. I also styled our own Zimbabwean Zimkid for the video ‘Spazzout’,” he said.

Kukz said he branded and promoted an artiste called Blackarmoor while B-Kays and Kayz also credit me for the same.
The list is endless.

If you know the Zim Achievers Awards that are conducted in UK, then you definitely know that Kukz has his Midas touch.
Most of the celebrities were styled by him at the award ceremony.

But how does he achieve all this?
“I first speak to you, try to get to know you better, know your taste, your favourite kind of fabric, texture, colours, and then I go to your wardrobe and work around what is not just there but that which you haven’t yet discovered about yourself but which is already there.

“However, one of the challenges that I have always encountered is that most people think that I want to give them my sense of style, which is not true.

“Also, I think Zimbabwe doesn’t have good stylists because if you go to a fashion shop today, what you see is fashion that is tailored just to dress people for the sake of dressing.” Inspired by Terrence Jenkins, Kuks moved to the UK in 2002 and says he is still single owing to his busy career.

“I might relocate anytime soon to my homeland Zim because I want to push for a style-dress that is truly ours,” he said.

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