February 22, 2024

Issue 12 Main Feature Story : Fungai Muzoroza

Fungai Muzoroza is a fashion icon in the making and the first time we laid eyes on her work, we were sold!

Fungai has over nine years of fashion design experience backed by a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion degree. Her creative prowess extends to styling, interior design, graphic art, fine art set design and content creation.

She owns two fashion business and is currently working on growing her home store “Flo&Co”, which she created to pave a lucrative pathway for her love of art, interior design and selfcare.

We sat down with Fungai to learn more about her work and we were absolutely “wowed” by her journey. 

Our magazine is returning to print after a hiatus and it feels like the dawn of a new era for us. Do you believe in the monumental nature of new beginnings/ fresh starts and if you do, is there something you’ve committed to giving a fresh start?

I really do. Of course this can sometimes be really scary but the end result of always starting afresh after a little well needed break is always best. I actually took a short break from my fashion brand at the end of 2017, and after a lot of thought and consideration I hopped back in 2019 with my close friend and business partner to one of the brands Rufaro Kasukuwere to form FungaixRufaro. 

Do you recall the first time you realised that you were gifted? Walk us through that experience.

Ironically I could link it to moments in high school when I wouldn’t do so well in certain science/maths subjects. In general I always felt like I had been forced in a box, so when I realised that there was more to me than school and started dabbling outside the box, that’s when I realised I was gifted in other things such as fashion, interior and just things that school could’ve never taught me. I started thinking and acting beyond what I was forced to believe I should achieve in. And that was a gift in itself. 

How did actualising your interest in fashion begin for you?

I would say my mother really helped me do so. I had always been designing, sketching and cutting up clothes from when I was young, but in high school my mother helped me actualise these things by taking me to fabric stores down town and tailors who could help me bring my things to life. She also helped me start my business in form 2. 

You illustrate beautifully and the way you allow insight into your creative process is refreshing. I had no idea you could make tie-dye print with rooibos! What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion and how is that reflected in your designs?

I truly believe sustainable fashion is the way forward and it’s definitely starting to come up slowly in the Zim fashion industry. In some of my smaller projects I love up cycling old clothes such as an old pair of denim jeans and making a bucket hat or a cute top. Also by using natural dyes there is less chemical use which is great for our environment. People also need to realise that simple things such as thrifting and buying local counts as sustainable fashion as it lessens our need to mass produce large amounts of clothes that may go to waste or continuously ship clothing. 

I’ve always thought of fashion as a layered form of artistic expression. There are so many  considerations to make when creating a garment from the fabric, colour and shape to how all of that will translate when worn. What are the key elements of your creative process?

Sometimes I simply have an idea in my head which I just build off of. But most of the time I try and narrow it down by giving myself a brief or theme and then I do research from there. Garment/history research, fabrics research, target market etc are some of the things I put into consideration before I start sketching ideas down.

Your brand name and logo pay homage to your father and mother’s heritage. How would you say your ties to your heritage and culture as well as your experience in the United Kingdom have influenced who you have become today?

I would definitely say that my heritage has definitely kept me grounded and I’ve always been proud to show it off abroad. As much as we hate to admit it, we as the Zimbabwean youth have become quite westernised in our ways, and by the time I left for university I thought more western values would have rubbed off on me and I was even okay with becoming a whole different person. But surprisingly, it was the complete opposite and I found myself showing off my heritage every chance I got. I found myself doing more research for my fashion briefs and just out of curiosity and it made me appreciate My background a lot more.

Fashion for most people is clothes on a rack in a store but for the people behind it, its hours and hours of hard work from idea origination, cutting a pattern, re-doing stiches and producing a sample. How impactful was obtaining your Bachelor of Arts in Fashion degree and what is the most valuable thing you learned?

After handing in my last assignment, I didn’t realise how big of a deal graduating was until I looked back at my years in university. As much as it was a lovely experience, there was a lot of frustration, depression and even questioning if I would complete the course. Beyond the re-stitching and re-sampling, life went on. A strain in finances would also be a current theme, as it is in most students who go over seas. But it made me realise that this degree would be the biggest way to thank and appreciate my mother and father for not only allowing me to follow my passion for fashion, but also just to show appreciation for all the early morning school rides, late nights helping me stay awake to study, lunchboxes, tours and fees. Our parents have played a larger roll in our school career than we imagined.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I never really know how to answer that question. But I keep it short by saying ‘anywhere’. The greatest ideas could start from the smallest object. 

Tell us about your Dombojena Resort and what inspired its aesthetic.

Dombojena resort is a six outfit piece swimwear collection which was inspired by the beautiful women in Zimbabwe of different shapes, sizes and backgrounds. I wanted to create something that we could wear and become fully comfortable in on holiday. The overall aesthetic of the shoot was inspired by my mother’s maiden name ‘Dombojena’. My late Gogo, Sekuru, Uncle and sister were always really proud of me so It was also an ode to them by using the name and incorporating ‘white stone’ in the shoot.

I am absolutely smitten with your tulle pieces and the first thing that came to mind when I saw them photographed was “whimsical safari”. What inspired those pieces and will we be seeing more?

I actually started creating those tulle pieces in university and thought it would be too ‘extra’ to develop on back home, but so many people have been loving them and rocking them. Very recently some of Zimbabwe’s most amazing ladies Tahle we Dzinza, Chiedza Chinhara, Tanaka Travels and Mikey Chindiya were wearing them and very soon Tamy Moyo will be rocking it on stage for one of her upcoming performances. I will definitely be making more versions as we go into summer. 

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on 2 mini deluxe summer collections to add onto my brands @fungai_muzoroza and @flo.andco . I’d also really just like to work on building my brand in Zimbabwe and help Zimbabweans appreciate and respect our fashion industry a lot more by challenging basic fashion concepts and introducing new ideas. I’d not only like to make myself and my family proud, but I would love to raise our flag internationally and give us more to be proud of! 

To learn more about Fungai and her work, you can find her on the following handles on Instagram:

@fungai_muzoroza 

@flo.andco

@theconstructzw 

@fungaixrufaro 

@fuzz.papi 

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