THIS IS HER STORY. MAKING HERSTORY
First is an ‘Ode to Askana’, a visual poem that speaks to the pain that we go through as women and how this shapes us and makes us who we are. A tribute to our resilience, a celebration of our battle scars and a nod to the power in going through the fire and coming out stronger. The story continues in ‘Seed of Esther’ with a journey to self actualisation, self worth and the discovery of the God that resides inside of us. A push to audacity and to gaining the ‘Godfidence’ of Esther to activate the guardian angels that are all around us.
From these two stories is birthed two of the most dynamic fashion collections ever put out in Zimbabwe; Haus of Stone’s ‘Ode to Askana’ Spring/Summer 2016 Collection and Haus of Stone’s ‘Seed of Esther’ Spring/Summer 2020 Collection. For the creator and visionary behind these Collections, no collection exists in isolation from the visual narrative that accompanies it. The stories are the essence of her art; and every piece is created from an authentic and inspired space and used to speak on things that matter. For her, fashion is not about chasing trends or being dictated to by fast fashion and overconsumption. It’s about creating timeless pieces that are calculated even in their simplicity. It’s about using her hands to create and to transform and to heal. It’s about defying society’s propensity to use fashion as a disguise to coat the outside surface and make it look pretty when the inside is a mess, but instead, using fashion to speak to people in a way that edifies them and helps them see themselves the way God sees them. It is about using fashion as a vehicle to narrate impactful stories and to minister to people’s inner beings.
And through this ministry, this inspired visionary has gone on to achieve many great feats, working with and creating looks for some of the country’s finest musicians the likes of Ammara Brown, Tamy Moyo, Gemma Griffiths and Nutty O; representing Zimbabwe and showcasing her visual narratives on some of the worlds biggest stages from Lagos to Melbourne; recognized and celebrated as one of Africa’s emerging fashion designers to watch; featured in Vogue Magazine on collections that stood out; nominated for ‘Best Emerging Designer’ Award and ‘Entrepreneurs’ Award at the Zimbabwe International Women’s Awards and selected by Fashion Revolution to host the Fashion Open Studio for Fashion Revolution Week…
Her influence cannot and has not been ignored! Allow us to introduce you to the creative force, spiritual conduit and visionary storyteller that is Danayi Chapfika Madondo, Founder & Creative Director of one of Zimbabwe’s leading Fashion brands, Haus of Stone, and all round creative pioneer extraordinaire. We celebrate the phenomenal woman she is, the power of her story, and her truly remarkable journey to “Becoming Danayi Chapfika Madondo.”
The Early Years
You as a young girl. How would the people close to you describe you then?
Funnily enough I can clearly remember my brother calling me a ‘drama queen’ and at the time I suppose I really was, I most certainly was a daddy’s girl.
What were the BIG dreams and aspirations?
I’ve always had a wild imagination with a vast and diverse set of ambitions & interests from being a police officer on horseback, to being a pilot and so much more. I think I’ve always been a person with diverse interests and ways of wanting to express myself.
And what influenced those?
My immediate family was my biggest influence. My early fashion influences definitely stemmed from my sister and her friends’ cool sense of dress style. My affinity towards the arts definitely came from my brother, because I thought he was one of the most talented artists I had ever met. As well as being exposed to different environments, experience and people on my journey through life.
What do you remember vividly from your childhood- what memories stand out? Family holidays and time spent together stand out to me. Some of my best and worst memories consist of times spent with my family, yet I don’t think I would have it any other way.
How does a day in your life today look like?
Dynamic and highly unpredictable would be the best way to describe it. It’s never the same thing and I am thankful for that.
How did you get here? How did this dream and this life come to be?
I wouldn’t say I have ‘arrived’ at my dream, but I am most certainly enjoying the journey and evolution of Danayi. A lot of hard-work, time, intention combined with what I hope is Godly led intuition and favor has gone into it. I also try to function with a spirit of humility, honesty and transparency. I am definitely a believer of ‘do onto others as you’d want done to you.’
Why do you get up in the morning to do what you do? What drives you?
My family is now my main driving force, but before I had my own little family I woke up to the promise that God has for me. I have always believed that I am destined for great things and we all get to define ‘greatness’ by our ‘own’ terms, no-one else’s.
And what’s the most fulfilling part of doing it all for you?
It’s when I help to transform someone’s inside from the outside. When my art ministers to someone’s situation and they can resonate with the narratives shared in a positive and somewhat mentally healing way.
What are some of the challenges or the things you want to change, or wish were different?
I think right now there is a creative renaissance emerging and more creatives are beginning to see value in collaborating with one another which has always been my desire. For us to compete less and work together more in order to establish our industry so we can all benefit in our own lane.
And what’s the next big thing for you? What new projects or prospects are cooking up in the pipeline?
I have lived a highly God favored life, so I am not always sure what God has set up for me next, but I try my best to plan and let God lead in the right direction. However, most recently I have been selected by Fashion Revolution to host an open studio session. Open Studio is an international platform which selects 21 designers from 12 countries to participate in an open studio which explores new sustainable and innovative design practices, so I am hugely humbled to have been considered and recognized.
How would those close to you describe you today?
Other than ‘creative,’ I wouldn’t really know, I try not to spend too much time worrying about other people’s descriptors of me and focus more on how I see myself. However, I have heard words such as creative pioneer thrown around, so I suppose I will run with the positive affirmation.
Work, Life, Play and Everything in between? How do you juggle & manage it all?
With an amazing support structure, I do not do it alone. There is a very present husband and father, dotting grandmothers and family members. So no, I am not a superhero slaying dragons and taking no prisoners. I also think good planning and communication also comes into play. I can plan my personal life but communicating it to my support system well in advance so I don’t disrupt other people’s lives is an area that I am still working on improving upon. My family have always been my main supporters and believers. Without them I would not be where I am today. I wouldn’t have the confidence that I have, to run as far as I have as well as I have. For that I will be forever grateful, because as much as they are my family everyone has their own commitments and life challenges to face and deal with, but they continue to show up for me.
How do you get away from all the noise when you need to?
I can’t always afford to jump on a plane and jet-set off to St Tropez, however, I love to rearrange my current spaces. This provides me with a lot of peace and tranquility, and I try to keep a lot of plants around me. For me, this is getting away from the noise.
Our our conversation with Danayi continues in Reflections. Click link below.