african dress (Photo:marieaustralia)

A LOT of times, we like to criticise fashion designers. I know I do whenever they screw me over and waste my material in the process.

Often we paint fashion designers with the same brush. That they’re unreliable and will cause you unending chest pains.

I still can’t get over my mustard dress boob. All I wanted was a simple mustard dress to wear to a friend’s wedding and I got a mustard mess!

The dress was hideous and didn’t even fit. Come to think of it, I never got a refund or replacement for that dress.

Anyway, they’re not all bad. Fashion designers I mean. I was recently reminded of this by Sisa Senkosi, a Bulawayo-born maskandi artiste based in the United Kingdom. She recently embarked on a project to celebrate African fashion designers and I thought this was pretty cool. It’s nice to have some positive vibe happening around you.

She got different female fashion designers to make her outfits, promote them and in the process celebrate the work they’re doing. Sisa Senkosi said she was motivated to do this because the fashion design industry is as cut throat as the entertainment industry. One has to constantly come up with new ideas to stay relevant.

“We attend red carpet events and people are wowed by our outfits but the designers behind these dresses are never celebrated. They hardly ever get recognised for their work,” she said.

A lot of us think engaging a fashion designer for any outfit is expensive. You think it will cost you an arm and a leg but this is not always the case. Of course it may not cost $20, a price you’d like, but it can be quite affordable.

You know what though; $20 deals are not always the best. The finish may not be great and before you know it, you won’t love the outfit anymore. Whenever you can afford it, enlist a fashion designer who comes highly recommended to hook you up for that special do. Ask someone who has gotten something done by them before or look at pictures of their previous work.

With her project, Sisa Senkosi sought not only to showcase the wonderful designers we have but also highlight the richness of African inspired wear.

“The designs are inexpensive and every woman should have a chance to wear an African inspired custom designed dress. This project is aimed at highlighting the amazing, world class, unique designs that incorporate our culture,” said Sisa Senkosi.

She said catering for the African market abroad is difficult as African fashion designers have to compete with those from western countries.

In this project, Sisa Senkosi collaborated with two designers from Zimbabwe; Yvonne Gambe Ndava of the Yvonne Yvette brand and Beauty Sibanda of House of Gogoz as well as a South African designer, Nde Khumalo of Cucicio Couture.

Having lived in the United Kingdom for over a decade, Sisa Senkosi said the project was a way of also reminding herself of her heritage.

“Just like my music, this project is a way of remaining cognisant of my roots and where I come from, which can easily be lost when one is in foreign lands.

“I sincerely hope that aspiring fashion designers will be inspired by these ladies’ work and that we’ll continue to support our own,” she said.

Speaking of supporting our own, the Bulawayo Arts Awards are just around the corner and you’re probably in way over your head.

It would be a great idea getting a fashion designer to make you something. We have a lot of talented ones in Bulawayo. I know for one Yvette Ndaba of Eve-O designs could hook you up and make you look like a million dollars.

There’s also Bernard of Scarless Designs if a custom made suit is what you need. There isn’t much time left before the event on June 30 at the Large City Hall so you need to get to stepping. They’re rolling out a red carpet and you need to slay unapologetically!Read more at:plus size formal dresses