Creative Designer Takudzwa Chitsike on the Power of Creatives Collaborating, Sharing Ideas and Leveraging Off Each Other

Reimagining a healthy and vigilant post-Covid19 society that prioritizes hygiene, the founder and owner of Dee Kaw Zee, Takudzwa Chitsike, one of the designers who joined in the UNDP “Beyond Now-Reimagining Society” Campaign, tells us about her brand and her contribution in the campaign, and her vision for a post-Covid 19 world…

Can you tell us about your involvement in the UNDP Beyond Now: Reimagining Society Campaign? Why did you decide to get on board for this?

The campaign is about looking at fashion and society post the Covid 19 pandemic, and as an accessory designer I felt it was important to highlight the seriousness of Covid 19 through my work and to make the message of preventive measures more appealing to the general public.

Please tell us about your designs for the Campaign?

Our designs focused mostly on bright colours. Colours that are captivating in order to draw attention. We used a lot of our brooches in African print fabric and shaped like the Africa and Zimbabwe maps to show our national and continental perspective.

How important do you think Zimbabwean Creatives coming together and collaborating is in contributing to the growth of the Creative Industry in this country?

Based on several challenges we face in the creative industry in Zimbabwe, I feel it is extremely essential to collaborate. The industry is fairly small so leveraging off of each other, sharing ideas and resources produces far more progressive results.

2020 has been a tough year for all fields because of Covid-19. How has the pandemic affected the fashion industry, particularly in Zimbabwe?

In my view and based on personal experience, the pandemic has forced us to think outside the box and to think futuristic. Indeed selling fashion items has been challenging during this past year, but I do feel it has helped many of us reevaluate our strategies and modes of marketing and drawing people into purchasing.

The whole world has had to reimagine life and create ‘new normals’ because of the Pandemic and that is what this campaign is all about. Has your brand managed to adjust to the new normal and what are the results?

It is work in progress. We are resuming business in this latter half of the year as opposed to the first part of the year. We have managed to bring out a successful earring collection which has given our customers a reason to feel excited about fashion a little bit more than during the thick of lockdown. We went “back to basics”.

How do we, as the consumers of fashion, reimagine our relationship with it in this reimagined post Covid society? Any insights from you as a pioneer and creative in this field?

Fashion is a personal journey; if you let external influences determine your fashion choices exclusively then a pandemic such as this would be crippling. The relationship with fashion must come from within who you are. Therefore, even with a mask on, find a way to make your fashion speak volumes about your soul.

Have there been any positive aspects that you have drawn from this whole experience? (Covid 19)

Most definitely. I have learnt the value of time and not to wait for tomorrow, do things right away, because it only takes a moment for life as we know it to be flipped upside down. I have also realised the importance of family and spending quality time them.

Can you give us an exclusive sneak peek into your image of a post Covid -19 society in Zimbabwe? What does your reimagined society beyond now look like?

My reimagined society will prioritise hygiene. This will assist in the prevention of so many other outbreaks that have caused havoc in our country such as cholera and typhoid. I envisage a healthier and more cautious society.

Let’s talk about you and Dee Kaw Zee outside the campaign; The name Dee-Kaw-Zee? How did it come about? What is the inspiration behind it?

The brand name Dee-Kaw-Zee comes from a locally used word “Madhikauzi” which refers to large earrings. I decided to name the brand Dee-Kaw-Zee as a play on the word because growing up I loved earrings and have quite a large collection of them. My mother always used to say “mwana uyu nemadhikauzi ake” so the first product I learnt how to make was earrings and it felt befitting to name the brand after my favourite fashion accessory.

What ignites your creative process? Where do you get your inspiration from?

To be honest, my only answer is that it is a gift from God. I dream about designs, they come to me in random and inexplicable ways. I find it hard to explain. However, nature, trends and influences from customers play a huge role.

You recently co-authored a book “Reinvented and Victorious: The Anthology” together with 14 other incredible women. Can you tell us about this project and what your Chapter specifically is about?

Wow, one of the most amazing experiences of my life. This project was about 14 amazing women telling their stories about struggles, pain, confusion, judgement, fear and so many other emotions we as women experience at varying times in our lives. The book relates to all of us somehow and brings positivity as the message is about finding victory despite the negative experiences. My chapter talks about my battle with abuse and rejection and how I eventually single handedly started Dee-Kaw-Zee to make it what it is today.

What do you hope the people reading this book get from your story?

The message I hope people take away is that anything is possible if you are willing to get up and put in the work. Pity parties, fear and entitlement don’t produce success but determination and prayers do.

As the year is coming to an end, any new projects from DeeKawZee to look forward to in 2021?

Most definitely. We are working on a home accessories collection which will mirror some of our fashion accessories.

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