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Local clothing labels compete for space

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FOLLOWING more than a decade of economic hardship, the local clothing industry is slowly reclaiming its space with the introduction of new labels being a positive indicator.

Report by Entertainment Reporter

This has challenged international brands which had for long dominated the market as evidenced by the number of clothing boutiques that solely rely on import products.

Labels including Mutupo, Shy Wear and Tateguru have of late effected a focus shift on local fashion trends.

Founder of Mutupo Cowden Chikomba said the label was largely inspired by tradition.

“Mutupo is inspired by the beauty of our traditional history, thus we use the traditional headrest known as mutsago or mutsamiro in vernacular as our icon, a symbol of unity and power,” Chikomba said.

He said the motivating factor behind Mutupo — which can be loosely translated to totem in Shona and label in slang — was the power of Zimbabweans in traditional belief.

“We believe that our people are kings, and we are proud of it. In that context, the use of the mutsago as our icon is apt,” he said.

Mutupo products include T-shirts, tracksuits and hoodies.

Tateguru fuses traditional and modern urban wear.

Its theme Natsa kwawabva kwaunoenda husiku, a Shona proverb which encourages one not to burn bridges for they do not know what the future holds, has made it popular with young people who prefer to hold on to their tradition in a global village that promotes foreign cultures.

Founder Tungamirai Zimondi said Tateguru was more than a fashion statement.

“Tateguru is much more than a fashion statement. It is a belief system — one that believes in defying gravity and in defining a present and a future harnessed by hard lessons gained from the past,” Zimondi said.

He said the label was an afro-centric brand that was looking to bring about a pan-African renaissance in terms of clothing because central to identity is clothing.
“You are literally what you wear,” Zimondi said.

Shy Wear, which is a product of Anthony Umali, also known as DJ Shy, is another of springing clothing lines offering a more relaxed and contemporary urban feel.

The label which sprung at the beginning of the year has T-shirts printed light-hearted statements such as Beer My Valentine, Music Is My Drug, Beer Is The Reason I Wake Up Every Afternoon and Hold My Beer While I Go Kiss Your Girlfriend, among others.

DJ Shy said the label was being well received on the market.

“My clothing line is being well received on the market, but most clothing shops in the city prefer selling imported staff especially from China and Dubai that’s why Shy Wear opened its first retail shop at East 24,” he said.

President Robert Mugabe’s signature label House of Gushungo has also claimed a significant stake as well as Terry Mahachi or Terry Gunz’s Harare Hustler, while Pokello Nare’s Queen of Swag has often been regarded as too pricey for the common man.

Mutupo, Tateguru and Shy Wear’s prices range between $10 and $20, while the Queen of Swag ranges around $100.

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