For the fashion section of this special edition, in line with all things art, we sat down with Mr Myles Matarise, Founder and Creative Director of Vibing (an online clothing store) and he gave us some valuable insight on what his brand is about and what it means in the Zimbabwean context and beyond.
Read on to find out more about Vibing and you will certainly be just as impressed as we were.
What is Vibing and who are the brains behind the brand?
Vibing is so much more than a clothing brand. It’s a lifestyle, it’s good energy, it’s a vibe, it’s friends, and it’s laughter.
The brains behind the brand are my best friend, Emmanuel Makoni and myself. I’m the Founder & Creative Director and he’s the Co-Founder & Chief Financial Officer. We balance out our responsibilities by assuming those roles.
What sparked the idea for Vibing and how long did it take you to actualise it into the brand that it is today?
The idea for the brand was first conceived in November 2015. I had accidentally dropped my Phone and damaged its camera and I had always used my Phone camera for taking pictures, editing and for a number of other design applications. Since I couldn’t take pictures anymore, I started looking up design apps online and I bumped into a website that had amazing design templates. The design templates caught my eye because of the potential I saw in them so I bought them online for about fifty-five dollars.
I worked on a couple of the templates I had bought and I created new designs and artwork, which I thought, looked catchy. I then showed them to my close friends and family members and they resonated well with them. That series of events is what sparked the idea of creating Vibing because it was then that I had the idea of putting the designs I had created on merchandise.
It took two years from the time the idea was first conceived to actualising it to the brand it is today. During those two years, I attempted to partner with various people and have the merchandise printed locally, but unfortunately it didn’t work out the way I had hoped it would. Another constraint that arose was the issue of getting the products to customers abroad as there was great interest from people beyond Zimbabwean borders. At this point, the brand was called “ZedW” but since there were newfound prospects of selling abroad, I thought it would be wise to change the name and that when the name Vibing came to mind. I felt it resonated perfectly with the concept of vibrant coloured designs and also what the brand is about.
Selling online is an effective way to get our products to customers worldwide and a lot of research went into identifying the companies that we needed for quality printing and distribution of the merchandise. I found an organisation located in Charlotte North Carolina, USA, that we could work with to fulfil our merchandise, package it and ship it to our valued customers across the globe.
I partnered with my long-time friend turned brother, Emmanuel Makoni, with setting up the business and integrating it with other e-commerce platforms that suited our business well. Emmanuel is based in Alberta, Canada, and we have since put in a lot of work into making Vibing what it is today. We are also making plans to have the business registered in Canada, as it will benefit the smooth running of the business online.
Do you design your own prints and what inspires them?
Yes, we design our own prints.
The vibrant colours on our national Zimbabwean Flag inspired most of our designs. On one hand, we had eye-catching designs and on the other, we knew that adding the Zimbabwean flag colours to most of them would bring them to life. We thought they were beautiful colours and we used them for a large number of our designs. It’s also become the fingerprint for most of our unique artwork.
The brand is characterised by bold and vibrant prints that are reproduced in variety of shapes and designs…tell me about the process behind creating the prints, shapes and designs and how you harmonise them into the final product?
Most of the designs were purchased templates that we then worked on using design software as I mentioned. A template in this sense is usually just an image with a pattern that’s either not been put together or just a plain graphic image made of unstructured shapes without colour or much character. After buying the templates, we then use various design software to put them together and try to come up with unique designs. We play around with the templates until we get a design that we feel resonates with our brand and theme. Many graphic designers use different software to create designs and mould them together. I guess the slight edge we had was actually looking at different templates sold online, identifying possible good ones and spending time modifying and creating something new and unique.
What range of clothing items do you currently have on offer and do you plan on expanding your range?
We currently have quite a wide range of clothing varieties on offer and these comprise of unisex t-shirts, sweatshirts, crewnecks, hoodies, embroidered caps, unisex tank tops/vests, waterproof backpacks/ satchels and all-over printed t-shirts. In the near future, we are looking to expand our products catalogue by adding merchandise such as coffee mugs, phone covers, posters, tote bags, beach towels, swimwear and exciting embroidered polo shirts.
You’ve got an amazing online store that I absolutely love but I’m curious to find out if you plan on having pop up stores in Zimbabwe where people can purchase your merchandise?
Plans are there to expand and open pop up stores but we’re doing it gradually. One strategy we have on the cards is to try and find a way to work with an official clothing retailer in Zimbabwe where we can have our products exclusively available in their stores. However, to start off we’re looking to have our products available at local airports and tourist resorts in Zimbabwe. We are constantly working towards finding an efficient and feasible business model that will incorporate elements of a physical shop as we build towards our own stores in the long run.
Where do you see the Vibing brand in 5 years?
We see Vibing being a successful reputable international clothing brand in the next five years. It’s what the brand is about that we most want to resonate with all those customers and communities who own any of our products. We want good energy, the vibe, laughter and all that to be what easily identifies Vibing as a lifestyle brand.
We are currently in the process of partnering with different international models and influencers from Australia, Canada and the USA to name a few. There are also some models & brand ambassadors we’ve approached locally and from South Africa in a marketing approach to push the brand to the world and a have presence in different global communities. That’s the vision we see with Vibing.
I’d like to give special thanks to the team at Harare Magazine for identifying our brand as an emerging influential brand and being inspired by its role in the fashion industry in Zimbabwe. Thank you for the interview.
For more information on Vibing