Style

5 Designers Putting Zambian Fashion on the Map

Meet the young designers shaking up the Zambian fashion industry.

A decade ago, Zambia’s textile and clothing industry had all but withered into the dust as privatisation sapped the vigour of the industry and reduced the Zambian public to consuming cheap Chinese goods. However, the last few years have seen a resurgence in the fashion industry with more young designers bursting on the scene.


The annual Zambia Fashion Week offers a platform for local emerging and established designers to showcase their designs to potential clients and buyers. There's also a Zambia Fashion Council, founded in 2014, whose mission is to develop a thriving and profitable fashion industry in Zambia.

With Zambian designers being invited to showcase their collections at fashion weeks around the world and bloggers increasingly working with major brands, the Zambian fashion scene is set to take off. Here, we take a look at five labels and designers that are shaking up the Zambian fashion industry.

Debbie Chu

Deborah Chuma’s fun and flirty self-titled brand is one of the most anticipated at Zambia Fashion Week every year. The 20-something-year-old began her career in 2009 after taking a class in tailoring with the goal of going abroad for fashion school, as Zambia does not have an established fashion institution. Chuma's designs mix vintage material that she finds at second-hand clothing markets.

Her most recent collection, Oracle of the Honey Bee, features a dark palette with tiger prints, high-waisted leather black pants and military-inspired tones. At last year’s Zambia Fashion Week, Chuma’s models walked the runway with black tape pasted on their foreheads and black roses in their mouths.

Courtesy of Debbie Chu.

Courtesy of Debbie Chu.

Esnoko by Chiza

For 16 years, Chiza Ngulube has been making quality men's bespoke tailoring using fine African prints and fabrics. Ngulube opened Esnoko’s first standalone store shortly after showcasing at South African Fashion Week A/W 2016.

His latest collection, Esnoko S/S 2016, features chitenge (Zambian print) pants and tuxedo blazers. Standout pieces include a modernized version of the Sibiza, a traditional outfit worn by men of the Lozi tribe in Western Zambia, and caped-sleeved blazers.

Esnoko by Chiza S/S 2016

Esnoko by Chiza S/S 2016

Mangishi Love by Kapasa Musonda

A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, Zambian designer Kapasa Musonda established her Mangishi brand in 2012. She’s since gone on to showcase collections in L.A, Palm Springs, Atlanta, Adelaide and Lusaka.

The ready-to-wear pieces in her Mangishi Doll line consist of unique prints and bold colors mixed in unusual yet rhythmic ways. The word mangishi is derived from the Nyanja language, referring to a piece of wire twisted into an artistic craft.

Courtesy of Mangishi Doll.

Courtesy of Mangishi Doll.

ChizO Designs by Chisoma Lombe

Chisoma Lombe is the founder and owner of ChizO Designs, which has been operational since 2013.  Lombe made her Zambia Fashion Week in 2014. She’s since gone on to showcase at Zimbabwe Fashion Week and will soon show at Accra Fashion Week in October 2016. Her designs feature colorful embroidery, which she says is because she likes to make bright, bold and unique outfits that channel “the beauty of nature.”

Courtesy of ChizO Designs by Chisoma Lombe.

Courtesy of ChizO Designs by Chisoma Lombe.

MaFashio by Sekayi and Tukiya Fundafunda

Started by sisters Sekayi and Tukiya Fundafunda in 2012 as a street style blog showcasing Zambia’s most fashionable individuals, MaFashio has morphed into a personal style site that promotes the local fashion industry by spotlighting designers and covering events like Zambia Fashion Week and Fashion Day Out. In 2014, they were named Zambia’s best fashion blog at Zambia Fashion Week.

Sekayi and Tukiya Fundafunda for a Summer 15/16 shoot of Kamanga Wear pieces, styled by MaFashio and shot by Fortress Media Photography.

Sekayi and Tukiya Fundafunda for a Summer 15/16 shoot of Kamanga Wear pieces, styled by MaFashio and shot by Fortress Media Photography.

Music
Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

B3nchMarQ and the Art of Making Something From Nothing

B3nchMarQ's EP consists of great songs that don't require much from the listener—but it bangs.

There's nothing groundbreaking about South African rap duo B3nchMarQ's debut release ASPEN EP. But one indisputable fact is that it bangs.

Keep reading... Show less
Music
Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Nasty C and French Montana Hit the Club In the Video for ‘Allow’

Watch the video to Nasty C and French Montana's new collaboration.

South African rapper Nasty C just released the visuals to "Allow," his collaboration with French Montana. The song is featured on Bad Hair Extensions, the re-release of Bad Hair, the Durban-born rapper's debut album.

Keep reading... Show less
Video
Courtesy of Jojo Abot.

Let Jojo Abot's New Afrofuturistic Video Hypnotize You

The Ghanaian artist releases the new video for "Nye VeVe SeSe," an entirely iPhone-recorded track.

Jojo Abot is rounding out a strong year which has seen her tour South Africa, release the NGIWUNKULUNKULU EP and work with institutions like the New Museum, Red Bull Sound Select and MoMA on her art and performances.

Jojo is now sharing her latest music video for "Nye VeVe SeSe," a song featured on her iPhone-only production project, Diary Of A Traveler.

"Nye Veve Sese is an invitation to let go of the burden of pain and suffering that keeps us from becoming our best and greatest selves," a statement from Jojo's team reads. "Asking the question of why pain is pleasurable to both the one in pain and the source of the pain. Often time the two being one and the same."

Watch her new "meditative piece," which was shot in Bedstuy, Brooklyn, below.

Jojo Abot will be playing her final US show of the year in New York City alongside Oshun on October 26 at Nublu 151. Grab your tickets here.

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.