“I really don’t think there’s one thing that I can pick that made me fall in love with fashion, I always found myself drawn to colorful and strange pieces whenever I went shopping .I should believe it was a gift that was slowly shaping me into designer LOL “
Mwandwe Mwelwa is a female designer based on the Copperbelt. She describes herself as a lover of God. She runs her own clothing label called “Asaph”. Talking about her label she said, “Asaph is a women’s clothing brand who’s main aim is to redefine minimalism. The motivation is simply trying to give every woman an opportunity to feel comfortable in everything she wears as well as take charge of everything around her.” She aims to grow her label in the near future and be able provide employment for her fellow youths.
Mwandwe is inspired by many designers both locally and international. “Favorite local designer; well Tendia of Lwenji, the girl is playful with her designs I love her. And Donna and Christina of Kamanga wear, I love how colorful and complex their designs are. International designers would have to be DVF (Belgian-American fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg) her play on colors and the simplicity is amazing.” She explained.
This year Mwandwe took part in the Vodafone JUMP designer’s challenge. It gave upcoming designers the chance to exhibit their designs with the winners getting the opportunity to showcase at this years Zambian fashion week. Mwandwe was one of the winners. She described the feeling of as overwhelming. “I still smile and do a praise dance when I think about it.”
This years Zambia Fashion week was a huge success with more than 30 talented local designers getting the opportunity to showcase their collections. The theme was “Beyond Reality”. Mwandwe had the opportunity to showcase her designs to the droves of fashion enthusiasts that thronged New Government Complex for the premier fashion event. She labeled the experience as exciting, saying it gave her the chance to not only display her work to a wide audience but to network with other designs as well. “My designs are more on the simple, playful and colorful everyday wear, kind of look. I don’t have a favorite fabric, I prefer playing around with any kind that appeals to my eyes.” She doesn’t use any computer software for her designs, its all free hand. Her design process usually starts with the idea she wants to portray through the piece. When she is done with the concept she works on the pattern then goes fabric shopping. “I try to always stay on top of what’s trending that season but making sure I don’t stray far from personal ideas.”
Zambia has embraced the world of fashion with open arms. Young and old alike do their best to look good at every occasion. Mwandwe concurs; “I sit and look at people’s Instagram and I’m totally blown away by some of the looks. I think what constitutes Zambians fashion is that we try to stay true to our personal identities and the things we like.”
In the western world i.e. USA, UK etc. and even here in Africa in countries such as Nigeria and South Africa, people are able to make a good living in the fashion industry as designers, stylists, make-up artists etc. We asked her what the situation is like in Zambia. “The fashion industry is slowing growing and most designers are able to make a good living. I think it all just comes down to how business minded one is.” She said. Mwandwe went on to explain that in the next 10 years she would like to see the fashion industry at a much higher level than it is now. With more people on the scene that will contribute positively to the country GDP and provide sustainable employment. “I’m excited to see what the future has in store.”
View some of her designs below:
Interact with Mwandwe on social media:
BY KAPA KAUMBA