WALKING around Harare and Bulawayo’s central business districts, you can barely make it 200 metres without coming across neatly designed Hustler T-shirts.
The T-shirts, 100% local products have stolen the hearts of the young, celebrities included, who proudly adorn them relating to their home towns as opposed to international brands that populate local fashion boutiques.
Tererai Tichaona Ziwenga-Kombora, affectionately known as the Bulawayo Hustler, is a young man of 22,who came up with the initiative in 2012 having worked at a textile printing company.
Ziwenga-Kombora said he grew up passionate about fine art.
“After completing my A Levels, I worked for a company that was inlvoved in textile printing. It was then when I was introduced to graphic design software that empowered me to transfer my fine art concepts into graphics,” he said.
He said his work was not quite good at first, but with the help of his friend Walter Manyanya and viewing Google tutorials came a remarkable improvement.
“I educated myself using Google tutorials on various software so as to perfect my production and right now I can safely say my work is good judging from its popularity on the market,” he said.
Though with a buzzing market, Ziwenga-Kombora is still to open a retail outlet.
“Local shops are not opening their doors to new locally designed products while boutiques are flooded with clothes from Asia,” he said.
“I, therefore, use social media to market and sell my staff, thus one can pick out a T-shirt from collection I post on my Facebook page, contact me to order and I bring them their product.”
Ziwenga dreams of venturing into various other wares including shoes, head-gear, tracksuits and even satchels.
He urged designers to always come up with fresh products in order to lure people into buying local products.
“As designers we need to stay competitive with the market, bringing in new products while desisting from reproducing each other’s work,” he said.
“We need to make our products appeal to our clientele so that we may stay relevant and even take over the market largely dominated by international brands.”
Meanwhile, various celebrities have shown their faith in local products by buying the Hustler T-shirts.
Names including Shinsoman, L-Cut, Zima nominee Mzoe 7, soccer star Munyaradzi Dhiya and DJ Mzoe are among Ziwenga-Kombora’s clients.
Tererai Tichaona Ziwenga-Kombora is a student of Development Studies at Lupane State University, currently on attachment at the City of Harare’s Health Services Department.