Creative Designer and Founder of PatCh Maoko eZimbabwe, Chido Kaseke, on the Changing Face of Fashion…

Taking a page from the Shona Proverb,”Chara chimwe hachitswanye inda”, Creative Designer and Co-Founder of PatCh MaokoeZimbabwe, Chido Kaseke shares on why navigating the fashion industry together will go a long way in shattering glass ceilings for Zim Creatives; her role in the “Beyond Now: Reimagining Society” Campaign, heir vision with PatCh MaokoeZimbabwe to up-skilland empower local artisans, and why, despite its many challenges, 2020 has been a good year for the local fashion industry.

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 purpose of the campaign for me is to engage our nation on life during and beyond covid19. This not only gets people talking about their realities, but it also gets people thinking of the possibilities that lie in what may seem like a dead-end caused by the pandemic. Being a part of this is a privilege as it is a way to rebuild the dreams of our youth, encouraging people that life will still go on. There always is light at the end of the tunnel.

Please tell us about your designs for the Campaign.

We showcased a selection of our classic pieces and some of our newer bags. We had two varieties of our Totes, bucket bags, wine caddy and ngoma bags for the campaign showcase just to show the versatility in design and function of our bags.

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

“Chara chimwe hachitswanye inda” is a Shona proverb that when translated means, one finger on its own cannot break a tick -one individual on their own cannot overcome a problem. The power in collaboration is that when great minds come together for a common cause, they share ideas and resources therefore shattering ceilings, developing breakthroughs where there may have been barriers. We have a long way to go in the Zim creative industry and walking it together will make the difference.

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

2020 has been a tough year indeed, but I believe it has been a good year for our local fashion industry. Where we normally would have imported or travelled to purchase clothing and or accessories, we got the chance to learn more about what our local industry offers and it gave a chance for small business to gain exposure and grow. I would like to think most local designers would agree with this.

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?

I think we have always been about surviving in any situation no matter the circumstance. Us Zimbos know how to do that very well. This has helped us grow in times where one would expect things to slow down. We have had a busy year considering everything happening around us and we are grateful for it.

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 space?

Fashion is changing. I’d like to think that the world is shifting fashion consumers to become more conscious of what they wear. To learn more about who made it and how it was made. When everything shut down for a while, I think fashion consumers may have had heart attacks because they couldn’t shop like they used to. A lot of us were left with what we already had in our closets…besides the fact that we had nowhere to go for us to dress up, we could only wear what we already had prior to Covid. This I think could teach us more about conscious buying, which is important in the world of fashion and contributes to the continuity of eco life cycles in our world as a whole.

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

Yes, there has. It hasn’t been all doom and gloom. Getting space and time to slow down has allowed a lot of us to reflect and focus on a lot of things we don’t usually get the time to seek clarity on especially in our busy world. This opens up doors to opportunities we may have normally missed.

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?

A cleaner place without a debilitating virus, where people can move freely, but still be conscious of their surroundings so as to maintain a healthy environment that promotes continuity of life.

Let’s talk about you and Patch Maoko eZimbabwe outside the campaign; The name Patch Maoko eZimbabwe? How did it come about? What is the inspiration and story behind it?

PatCh is a combination of my mother’s name and mine. Patricia and Chido.
The main idea behind the phrase Maoko eZimbabwe comes from our vision to grow into a community of local artisans from Zimbabwe whom we train through our free in-house program and employ/take under our wing once they are skilled, to create bags with their hands.

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

A lot of what we see around us inspires me, when you look at our bags you see a lot of vibrancy in color. Our bags are statement pieces therefore they have to stand out. Nature’s colors give us inspiration when we’re pairing colors for our bags. I also read on the material culture of Zimbabwe and draw inspiration from this. This is how we come up with pieces like the Ngoma/Drum Bag and our Nhovo/Shield Bag. Continuity is a major aspect in our business model and it contributes to our thought process when we’re creating.

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

2020 has opened many great doors for PatCh. We have a couple of projects that have taken off in the later part of this year that we will continue to nurture and a few more already lined up for 2021. We are looking into collaborations with local and international brands, new distribution partnerships and more community work to impart skills to women who could make great use of their hands whilst sustaining themselves and their families

 

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