Tanya Nefertari is the brain child and clothing label by Tanya Mushayi the young Zimbabwean designer building her brand through social media. The fashion fanatic started out making clothes for herself wearing her own designs and blogging about them. Now her label is one of the favourites amongst Zimbabwe’s style savvy crowd.
We had a chance to catch up with and here is what she had to say about fashion and her label.
1. Why did you decide to become a fashion designer
I always say I am an accidental fashion designer. Ever since I was young I was always on the other end of the fashion spectrum, I'd always wear quirky clothing, I was more of a fashion rebel, I never liked being told what to wear or what's in style or following trends. I had studied Art and Design since I was 17 in college then I specialized in Surface Print for Fashion and Interiors at degree level. Hence I am well versed with fashion. In the first few months of moving back to Harare I fell in love with the bright kitenge fabrics the street vendors and market women had wrapped around their waists. I was left wondering why there weren't any clothes made using that fabric in Harare, so I started making my own pieces to wear. I made what I wanted to wear and it quickly snow balled to people asking me to make them the same.
2. What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer
My favorite part about being a fashion designer is the unlimited opportunity it allows me to use my vision, initiative and thinking outside to box to make an end product. I love dreaming up items I want to wear then introducing them to people and seeing the reaction then I
tweak when I can to suit my clientele.
3. What are your plans for the future?
At the present moment, I am focusing on establishing my clothing line business, ensuring that my brand gets well known and that it will have a wide online presence. Currently, I source my fabrics locally but this will be only temporary as I intend to expand my scope and be
involved in the process of designing & printing my own surface design prints - as that is what I studied at degree level in University. My plans and dreams for the future are to expand my brand from just a clothing line to a fashion movement that isn’t just a fad or a trend
that is short lived. One of the things I live by is to ensure I continue learning and pass on what I’ve learnt to other upcoming designers. I hope to be a trailblazer and history will record that
Tanya Mushayi tried and paved the way for others to showcase the amazing fashion sense and style of Africans inside Africa. I am proud of my heritage. I feel special being African and it is a rich continent with diverse culture and roots and I feel I belong no matter where I might end up in my quest to make that mark in the fashion industry.
4. What is your philosophy about fashion?
“No matter what clothes, be it a brand, label and what you can or cannot afford. Make it work.”
5. Does your work reflect your personal fashion taste ? Can you describe your style ?
My work definitely reflects my personal fashion taste. I try my best not to design or make anything I wouldn't be seen wearing. If I don't believe in the product I can't push it with confidence. The more I grow as a person the more my designs and style evolve. I’d describe my fashion style as bohemian girl meets art deco-esque Afrocentric woman.