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United Kingdom-based fashion designer Leah Mubwandarika is walking the talk ever since she launched her brand earlier this year.

The brand called “Leah African Design” which is now internationally recognised has a collection from haute-couture to ready-to-wear.Mubwandarika who is in the country for a five-day stay said the main reason she is making it big is because of her uniqueness and style.

“Fashion is an in-born thing and to me it is just like drinking water. My sense of style has made me go so far. I remember in 2009 when I introduced the Zulu hat which made me earn the name, ‘Leah the queen of African design’ people started to follow my trend. In fact I can say I am a trend-setter,” she said.

The stylist cum designer said people should embrace fashion as we live in it.

She said that designers should do more research first about their designs so as to make a brand known.

“I am happy that the designing industry is growing but some of the designers lack depth on how to make it big. They should do research on the trendy styles and then be creative so that they won’t imitate others. Looking closely, clothes are the same but they just need that unique touch in order to create a brand,” she said.

The Zimbabwean beauty who set base in one of the world’s fashion capitals, London, some years ago said African print has caused a stir internationally.

“Gone are the days when we used to think African print is meant for African garments only such as ‘chitenje’. This period both local and international celebrities are rocking in African print and I am happy some of my products have been embraced on international scenes,” she said.

The fashionista said her collection is all about glamorous and luxurious textiles, characterised by colourful and matching accessories.

“I do specialise in evening dresses, cocktail gowns, bridal wear and beautifully tailored clothes. I buy some of the materials in Ghana, Spain, Italy, London, Switzerland, Nigeria, Dubai and Zimbabwe among other countries. I have met a partner here who want us to venture into handbags using the African print and it is now work in progress,” she said.

Mubwandarika said lack of opportunity and financial constraints are hindering the industry’s growth.

“We have so many designs but the opportunity to showcase them is a challenge. I am lucky to be known and this year I will showcase at Durban Fashion Week and Lagos Fashion Week. I am in talks with the organising team for Harare Fashion Week. I am here because I have a project that I am finalising for the SummerSpring collection fashion show scheduled for sometime in September this year,” she explained. She said her blazers are the in thing now and have been received by clients from as far as USA.

“I have worked with international celebrities and dressed some. From designers, models, talk show hosts to motivational speakers, I have dressed them. I feel good when they are on stage donning my regalia because I know it will be recognised,” she said. Mubwandarika was nominated at the Zim Achievers Award twice last year and this year is vying for the International Life Changers award in the women category.

Source : The Herald