BY KIMBERLY KARIATI
FASHION designer Vanessa Hodza has claimed a stake in the fashion world after launching her first collection called Rainmaker under the VANHO brand. Classy, stylish and modern, that is how best to describe the collection that also brings a transition in fashion.
It bridges a gap between the young and the old, but also represents culture, tradition and African heritage in a youthful way. Hodza believes her designs will not only fulfil the dreams of being a designer into perspective, but also attract self-discovery, opportunities and confidence in her career.
“I started my fashion career at the age of 18 when I presented Latin Friday after finishing high school in 2016. I was the youngest designer and I did about 10 pieces and everyone seemed to be surprised at how young I was and the kind of work I had produced.
“I think from that point, I was kind of a designer who was spoken as an upcoming designer, with my social media following growing. In the local fashion industry, people were like ‘okay, we are going to look out for her’. From then, nothing was really going on for me. So, I am now excited that I showcased what I now have because there has been a great level of anticipation within the industry for the young kid who was at every fashion event and really wanted to be a designer.
Passion for fashion
“When I was young, I wanted to be a fashion idol and when I grew a bit older, I became very fond of fashion shows and fell in love with clothes.
“I wanted to make my own creating the kind of feeling I got from watching fashion shows for other people. I decided to pursue fashion even at high school and then later applied at a fashion school in Italy at Polimodain in Florence.
“The biggest inspiration that led me into fashion is recognising the transformation power of clothes and fashion, how it can change perception and can create a complete reality of a person just with clothes. Fashion is one of the greatest forms of self-expression. How we dress can tell how we are feeling, who we think we are and what we are representing in life.
“Being part of that journey for other people as a designer is very inspiring because I get to learn and see how other people’s journeys come through and how people build themselves to become the best versions of themselves.
“The Rainmaker collection was inspired by the conversation between generations and I also wanted to touch on the conversation between God and men.
“I wanted to imagine what communication between the two was and how that kind of collaboration would help the younger generations as we were learning part of the culture given to us and the traditions handed over to us given what works for this generation and this time.
Intention of the collection
“The collection brings a perspective of fashion that is rooted in tradition and heritage, but also applies to contemporary fashion.
“It is not really about trends, it is very much about making clothes that people can identify with and can feel proud to wear.
“On my work, I have collaborated with local creatives I had been admiring and interacting with in order to produce something different and worthwhile. These include other designers, photographers, musicians and models. I also worked with brands like The Bra depot which sponsored bras for the models.
“I hope through the expression of the VANHO Rainmaker collection as well as all the work of the collaborators, we can present our perspective of contemporary Africa and all the conflicts that come with our unique culture coexisting in the expansive globalised world.
“I hope launching my brand would also increase our portfolios for collation into a rich and increasing repository of artistic output, to connect to the old, the current and the new.”
Follow Kimberly on Twitter @lizellekimkari