Lusungu Ng’uni Mudondo’s interest in fashion started when she was a little girl “…as far back as I can remember I have had a love for clothes. As a teenager I would adjust my own clothes to suite my taste and the older I grow the love and interest in fashion keeps growing.”
She is a self-taught designer. When she first started she would use tailors to make her clothes eventually she decided to save up and buy her own machine and started teaching herself how to sew, of course with the help of the internet.
Lusungu’s clothing brand is called Miss Lu .“My style is a combination of chic, edgy and elegant. I love to work with all kinds of fabric, but being Zambian I tend to use a lot of African fabric (Chitenge) which I find very diverse and I love it.”
Lusungu is not in full time design as she does have a regular 8-5 job. “Its tough juggling the two but so far so good.”
Asked what separates her from other designers, Lusungu stated that she always brings her personality into her designs, and she’s not one to always follow trends. “I love to design clothes that even 20 years from now, someone would still want to wear it.” She said.
The married mother of one explained that her family has been supporting her right from the beginning. “I think they even believe in me more than I do in myself.”
At the 2017 Zambia Fashion week Lusungu’s collection got one of the biggest ovations. She had this to say about the event;
“Zambia Fashion week was amazing to say the least and the response received was humbling I didn’t expect it. I worked with a really amazing friend of mine (Tamiwe) to bring the collection to life and the preparations leading to the day were quite taxing as we had to put in a lot of financial resources, late nights and many visits to the fabric shops. On the day of the event we were so nervous because we didn’t know what to expect from the crowd”
During the Fashion week event Lusungu won the Vodafone challenge, which pitted local designers against each other to design outfits using the official Vodafone colors. “Winning the designers challenge made me feel very happy and proud of myself” she said.
Speaking about the evolution of the Zambian Fashion week she said; “The fashion week has evolved tremendously over the last few years, I remember attending one of the earlier shows when they would be held at alliance francaise and that compared to what we see today, there has been a very big improvement, even the attention the show gets has grown considerably.
In my opinion I believe the event can be made bigger, by investing in promoting the show more both locally and internationally, bringing more international designers and getting more stakeholders that have an understanding of the fashion world help with the production and planning.”
Asked about the biggest misconception about working in the fashion industry she said “I think in Zambia people have not yet reached a stage where they appreciate the work that goes into creating a garment, most people tend to look at designers as tailors and are not willing to pay the real price of a designer’s piece.”
Lusungu was asked about the biggest lesson that she has learned since she started designing. “Ive learnt that I cannot please everyone and that mistakes happen, but with each mistake lessons should be learnt.”
In the next 10 years, Lusungu hopes to see Zambian designers begin to gain the international recognition they deserve. She hopes to see more local designers running stores in the Malls, creating more jobs etc. “The fashion industry can be a major contributor to the GDP of the country!”
“ …Thank you for the opportunity to share my views and thoughts on this form. I hope that someone out there will get inspired to do what they really love and that a better appreciation of the fashion industry can be achieved.” said lusungu.
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BY KAPA KAUMBA