Madondo blazes trail with  eco-fashion revolution Danayi Madondo

Kimberly Mhembere Fashion 263 Correspondent

It goes without saying that the fashion industry is one of the world’s most powerful marketing tools.

From the latest designs, and various brands to the media that surrounds it, fashion has a unique influence on the identities and behaviours of millions of people.

However, fashion has since started to pay attention to the threat posed by climate change and has already started making attempts to embrace sustainable practices.

Zimbabwe has become a hotbed of talent when it comes to sustainable fashion brands as names like Patch Moekoe, “Vanhu Vamwe”, and Natai Natai are among the leaders.

One name that apparently seems to go without recognition is Zimbabwean designer Danayi Chapfika Madondo.

Madondo is a pioneer in eco-fashion, a term defined as sustainable fashion.

She is developing a movement in the textile and garment business, which strives to lessen the sector’s impact on the environment.

Popularly known as ‘‘Haus of Stone’’, this creative director and icon has been in the industry for over a decade.

Our crew recently caught up with the revolutionary design for a brief chat on eco-fashion, her upbringing, and her plans for her growing business.

“I grew up in a household with women of fashion; my sister and grandmother cultivated my love for fashion,” said Madondo, in her origins tale.

After graduating from the London School of Fashion in 2012 (South Africa), she worked a year-and-a-half as a Virtual Merchandiser.

It proved to be a viable starting point and job, but she was irking for more.

“I was not fulfilled and I moved back home in 2013 to build my portfolio with the intention of going back to South Africa,” she recalled.

“I saw myself running a business and creating a brand.”

It was during this time that the idea of “Haus of Stone” was born in 2014.

‘’When I started my brand, it was because I identified our purpose and understood how to create something meaningful out of nothing.”

As one of the pioneers of sustainable fashion in the country, Madondo recalls falling into this bracket purely by the environment and culture.

“As an independent designer, it only made sense to have a brand that was governed by ethical practices.

“Financially, it served me and the entire system which I belong to,” said Madondo.

“I am constantly learning and implementing ethical and sustainable practices towards my work without necessarily labelling myself a ‘sustainable fashion designer’.”

In a bid to cater to the Zimbabwean market, Danayi opened a store for the locals in 2023.

“I felt like I was getting more recognition and appreciation outside Zimbabwe, and decided to open a showroom so that my own tribe would be part of reviving the fashion industry,” she said.

“I also felt it was important, whilst being appreciated by fellow my people.”

Her goal is to educate and let people know that it’s better to buy local to international designers.

Among the many challenges that she has faced in her journey include things like production costs, lack of funding, and support from fellow Zimbabweans.

Overcoming all these obstacles has made her story all the more inspirational and personally rewarding.

Among the numerous accolades and achievements that Madondo has under her belt include being featured in Vogue Italia, Teen Vogue America (2020), Glamour South Africa, exhibiting at London Fashion Week under Created Africa DNA, winning style awards in Zimbabwe as Best Stylist, Best Fashion Narrative at the European Film Festival and exhibiting her textile work in Anya Switzerland 2022.

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