Priscilla takes fashion to another level
FORMER international and Zimbabwe Fashion Week founder Priscilla Chigariro- Gessen took fashion to another level in 2016 with the many projects she launched throughout the year.
As we enter the Christmas holiday season, her works can be summed up by four quotes by famous fashion gurus.
“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.” —Gianni Versace
“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.” —Lauren Hutton
“A woman’s dress should be a like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” —Sophia Loren
“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” —Miuccia Prada
This year Priscilla opened exciting and ambitious project – a practical local response to the global trend of experience-based shopping and entertainment.
It reflected the recognition that while Zimbabwe Fashion Week has opened a venue for designers to showcase their collections, the economic conditions, the state of the retail sector, and the clothing manufacturing sector made it impossible for designers to monetize their efforts.
“With this in mind, we launched The Sp_ce, an interactive shopping/shisha lounge/art center/food and drink experience, where in an elegant setting infused with Turkish overtones we offer an opportunity to shop ready-made clothing produced exclusively by local designers, as well as relax in the ambient and opulent lounge, which serves the best shisha (nagrhile made according to a traditional Syrian recipe) in town,” she said.
The Sp_ce represents the most accomplished designers in Zimbabwe, such as David Alford, Rumbi Rumbi, TIR Fashion House to name a few and serves an international variety of food and drink, including the middle eastern, Mediterranean, Asian, African and Indian cuisine.
It is located at 4 Jenkinson Road, in Chisipite. Priscilla also showcased her own two labels at The Sp_ce, including Shoko Bespoke a collection of shoes and accessories, and Chrome Knitwear, which can be purchased ready-made or be custom made to customers’ specs.
Shoko Bespoke was launched in 2015 and has since sold products to countries on every continent. Its small factory produces each product from start to finish in Harare, and enjoys great customer loyalty.
Chrome Knitwear was launched in 2016 and is developing a steady following. Last but not least, Priscilla has from 2017 decided to focus on exporting Zimbabwean design and art talent to other countries. With this in mind, Priscilla recently sold the Zimbabwe Fashion Week franchise to a group of investors who have the capacity to take it to new heights and support it.
Together with her Russian partner Former Fashion Director of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Elle Magazines Anna Rykova she will be launching a new project, called Africa Art, Fashion & Food Festival, (AAFFF) which is slated for May 2 2017 in Moscow Russia, and will focus on showcasing Africa in general including Zimbabwe specifically during self-produced international events.
“The goal of AAFFF is to open international commercial markets to Zimbabwean designers, artists and musicians so they can actually sell their products and reap the rewards of their hard work, instead of packing away their collections after yet another local fashion event,” said Priscilla.
“Select Zimbabwean designers will be sent a brief and invited to submit collection proposals to participate in the first international event in Moscow in 2017 that has already been included in coverage plans by the Russian editions of Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Elle and other fashion, Art and Travel magazines,” she said.
As the fashion World awaits 2017 and more that Priscilla has to offer her actions could be summed up by Micheal Kors’ famous quote – “Clothes are like a good meal, a good movie, great pieces of music” and Marc Jacobs – “Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them.” She truly has ‘lived in them’.