Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers’ Association president, Jeremy Yeomans has dismissed claims by some fashion critics, who have raised concern over the quality of local designs, which they say do not reflect the cultural values of the majority of people in the country.
BY ALOIS VINGA
Yeomans said there was need to distinguish between fashion and traditional attire and stressed the importance of unity in the industry.
“We need to get everybody working in one direction because the industry is fragmented. It is more of a dream, but we need a starting point always,” he said.
“The first step is to get fashion stakeholders to work in a common direction, get them speaking with one voice.”
Yeomans said what was important was not coming up with a national dress, but improving the quality and uniqueness of purely Zimbabwean fashion styles.
“Consumers should understand that fashion is all about expressing yourself through dressing,” he said.
Truworths Group’s quality assurance and control manager, Ernest Chideya, underscored the need to improve the quality of training for designers.
“Most of the graduates we receive from the country’s institutions are challenged in terms of producing works that are of relevance.This has led the management at Truworths offering a one-year intensive national service practical training to these graduates,” he said.
Chideya said there was need to synchronise the curriculum within institutions training students in garment construction to offer what was needed in the market.
“This can be achieved by establishing regional training centres, and national training centres which are well structured to disseminate uniform skills,” he said.
However, South African fashion expert Jan Malan sees the issue of revamping Zimbabwe’s fashion and design as multi-faceted.
“Good designers must be influenced by their own culture to design amazing clothes. We have to accept that we need to keep our identity just like the Japanese and Koreans, who have managed to be influenced by their culture,” he said.
Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers’ Association director, Admire Masenda suggested that research should be conducted to establish the needs of the local customers.
“We need to identify the missing link in our fashion sector and come up with designs that are appealing to the majority. Efforts must be invested towards affordability and creating local taste. There is also need to give local designers an opportunity,” he said.