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Interview with Tatenda Zanorashe – Meeting the Fashion Needs of the Modern Zimbabwean Woman

Art in motion is the only way I can describe Tatenda Zanorashe. She is every bit a creative and you can never mistake her for anything else. Read on to learn more about her!

January was a monumental month for a lot of people as it signifies new beginnings and fresh starts. Do you believe in that and if you do, is there something you’ve committed to giving a fresh start?
I definitely believe that with every new season come new beginnings. For me, January 2018 was huge because this year I turn 30, I have a baby on the way and I am opening a new retail space! I have committed to being the “me” I dreamt of as a child; she kind of got lost in my twenties, and although I was working towards finding myself in family life, career and spiritually, I think I have finally reached a place where I know what I want for myself and am determined to chase that fearlessly and unapologetically.

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How did it all (fashion) begin for you?
I literally just used to draw clothes from a very young age. From about age 7, I would re-draw pictures from magazines, or jut draw down ideas I had. It kind of grew with me from there.

Where did you get your training?
I did my first degree, Fashion Design and Retailing (BA Hons), at Limkokwing University in Malaysia and my Masters in Sustainable Fashion Design at ESMOD University in Berlin, Germany.

Do you think your training in fashion and where you got it has shaped the way you express yourself in your designs?
It definitely has. I love prints and am working on bringing my own interpretation of African/Zimbabwean print to life. Throughout my work, there are always some really bold colours, which I think have a strong reference to my time in Asia. Then there are hints of minimalism that come through sometimes, which refer back to Europe and the aesthetic there. I will sometimes use a really loud fabric with a very simple pattern or vice versa, or completely strip away colour and come up with a really bold monochromatic print… it depends on my mood and state of mind at the time.

How do you balance being a mom, wife, having a social life and work? What keeps your creative juices flowing?
My priority is always my family; they come first. I find I still struggle with balancing it all. With my family being a constant priority, when I’m in work mode, my social life suffers. When I want to take a break, I switch off work entirely… so I try to give myself time for everything. For example, in December I barely get any work done! I am working on being more organised and having better time management. The creative juices never stop flowing though, I find inspiration all around me and always have ideas. However, the execution is a whole story of its own! Especially now with my pregnancy. For now, I’m listening to music I love, reading, taking time to hear my thoughts and get it all together as I get ready to ‘hit the ground running” after I have the baby!

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Where do you draw your inspiration?
From all around me. The simplest things can spark an amazing idea. I love looking into culture and how it is always changing. I find inspiration in making the old new.

How would you say travelling and having exposure to the kind of opportunities you did at a fairly young age influenced who you have become today?
I am a very open book. I have had to interact with so many different people and realised that the only way to connect is through being an authentic version of myself. Every single travel experience I have had has had an impact on me in some way. The outcome is that I have very distinct ideas and beliefs that are hard to waiver. I’m not sure this is always a good thing, but I have found a strong sense of pride and loyalty to myself and who I am from being exposed to so many different environments and people.

What drives your work ethic?
I always want my client to be happy, whether they are buying something in the store or I am making something bespoke. I always feel satisfied when my end user is happy.

In your opinion, what is the present state of the fashion industry?
Our fashion industry is at a very exciting place at the moment because there are so many creatives in fashion doing their thing. Zimbabwe has some really talented and stylish people and it feels like everyone is finally out in the open and being fearless about their style, craft and passion! I love it and respect people doing their thing.
The collaborations are amazing as well because we have reached a stage where it’s not about competing all the time, but also realising that we need to co-exist and create our own industry and make it great. Campaigns like #wearlocal #wearzim are making a huge difference to everyone’s perceptions from designers to the public.
We still have a long way to go, but we are heading there fast!

Tell us about your store and what inspired its aesthetic.
The Shop is a place to find interesting affordable pieces. I wanted it to be girly and easy on the eyes; hence, there is lots of white with pink and grey accent walls. I really wanted it to be a place that’s in between a store and a closet, where you look through and find things.

You plan on opening a store at Sam Levy’s Village soon and it’s something you’ve expressed excitement about. Will you tell us more about that?
No, I won’t! You will have to come check it out when it opens!

Follow Tatenda! FacebookInstagram • Twitter 

Interested in reading about more personalities in the Zimbabwean Fashion Industry? Check out our past interviews with fashion designers 

Joyce Chimanywe (Zuvva) • Lorraine Mugariri (Maison du Style) • Tapfumanei Munenge

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