Tina Zuze closes the fashion gap

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A WALK into Christina Zuze’s shop in the central central business ditrict of Harare, reveals various items of an ethnic nature.

ROPAFADZO MAPIMHIDZE

It is a one-stop-shop for anyone wishing to either buy or have a unique outfit designed for that special occasion.

Most of the items in the shop are her creations done with the help of four young women who help with stitching using industrial sewing machines.

The assistants carry out the duties at the back of the shop.

Also on display are fashion accessories using African-designed fabrics and embellishments from other parts of Africa like beads, twine with designs ranging hair-bands, rings, embellished flip-flops, embellished raffia bags, hair clips and more.

“I identified a gap in fashion accessories, so I decided to bridge that gap. It is about time that Zimbabweans start showing the world the beauty of African designs.”

Born of Mozambican parents, Tina was born in Zimbabwe, but raised was in Mozambique.
She said her father was a renowned tailor in Mozambique. So Tina would watch and assist her father tacking or hemming clothes.

“I did not attend any dressmaking school. I started this career by sewing ordinary skirts and dresses. But as I got more exposure after I got married, I started fusing African fashion designs with western clothing.

“I believe this is a God-given gift because sometimes I dream of certain designs and when I wake up, I draw the pattern and transfer that into an item that gets taken as soon as I display it on the shop window,” Tina says.

Tina, who speaks fluent Portuguese, said she buys java and African prints from Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Zambia.

As a tribute to African culture, she has incorporated colourful kente fabrics from Ghana or chitenge material from Zambia into her line of bridal attire. She said these designs are a reflection of how colours can bring about positive change in African people.

Tina said today’s brides are demanding cultural elements that complement traditional European style wedding dresses.

Early last year, she invited her clients to attend her birthday bash at her home in Avonlea. The invitation card stated that invited guests should wear clothing designs she had personally done for them.

It was such a memorable event, which this writer attended, as women and men from different walks of life paraded at this party in fancy African designs she had personally created.

“I initially used to buy African designs that were locally produced by David Whitehead Textiles which produced very good material for such outfits.

“But that company closed down and that has forced me to travel around Africa to source quality African design material. I also choose appropriate pattern designs for a client because each and every woman is uniquely shaped.

“Some women are big, others small, tall or short. I assist my clients in choosing designs that are appropriate for their body structure,” she said.

She also ties starched headdresses, an art she learnt from Nigerians, which have proved to be very popular with local women.

“I also design shirts for men to match with, for example, their trousers or spouses’ attire. African designs are versatile because they are all occasion outfits which can be accessorised to suit different occasions.

She, however, took a swipe at women who go to church wearing clothes that she described as improper dressing.

“How can you go to church wearing a mini-skirt or dress and sit at the front row facing your priest or pastor? I have also seen women at funerals dressed as though they are going to some sleazy party or fashion show. Women should learn to dress properly for different occasions,” she said.

But how does she get clients streaming to her shop?

“My designs are different and whoever has had an outfit done here will refer people to me. That is how I have successfully run this business.”

Tina is married to Evison, an irrigation specialist, and they have three children, two boys and a girl.

Their eldest daughter, Joane, is a student at Cape Town University in South Africa, while their second born Jeremy is doing form four at Falcon College in Bulawayo. The youngest, Jimny, is in Grade Seven at Avonlea Primary School in Harare.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I need the contact details and business premises for Tina Zuze for some materials which I need to be tailored by her team

    • Tina is in second street just after robson manyika ndopairi ipapo buddy you will see mai Zuze she is good i tell you

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