Imagine if in a couple of years you could walk into a mall with designs exclusive to Zimbabwe. Young designers like Tanaka Samukange are setting the pace on the design scene. At the age of seventeen Samukange has just launched a clothing label, 7:30.
In urban youth culture, 7:30 means something is crazy, cool and hip. Samukange’s designs are 7:30, at the moment offering T-shirts for men and women.
7:30 has been described as more than a fashion statement. 7:30 apparel is expressed through creative, original and authentic gear.
“Our mission at 7:30 is to continue the original style of screen printing with the focus of providing the most stylish and innovative clothing to complement any type of lifestyle,” Samukange said.
7:30 was founded in 2009, but initially known as TLS (initials for Tanaka Leroy Samukange). In 2011 it was renamed 7:30, as the designs typically feature a digital clock displaying 7:30 and a printed Roman numeric clock.
In 2011 7:30 apparel launched its first catalogue titled 7:30 Gear decoded from the phrase “a set of toothed wheels” which act together to carry out motion. Gear can also be defined as, any type of clothing that you wear.
“I wanted to create T-shirts that stood out from the crowd,” Samukange said.
The 7:30 Gear summer range includes tees (T-shirts) for both men and women with bright colourful designs artistically depicting the cheerfulness of summer.
Samukange is inspired by things around him, which he easily expresses in creations.
In the words of a famous fashion journalist, Charlotte Brunel, contributing to Le Monde a popular French newspaper, the T-shirt is to clothing what the blank sheet of paper is to writing — “a surface for imagination and free expression to run wild”.
The designs are done by Samukange, a skilled graphic designer, also specialising in mix-tape covers, album covers, flyers and posters.
To promote the clothing label, Samukange has been working with hip-hop artists like Kripmac (Kundai Makombe) to produce a track I Got My Gear On.
In the long run Samukange intends to go further, offering more urban clothing and streetwear to the clothing label.
“My goal is to establish this brand as the leader of streetwear in Zimbabwe and eventually in the world,” Samukange added.
In 10 years’ time, we hope to see a successful artist, specialising in design, art, music and, lastbut not least, a section in a part of the mall solely dedicated to such designs.
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