Nottingham saw the official launching of Fagee Fashions, a new label, at the Philadelphia Centre. Young models walked the catwalk showing off some of the new labels offerings.
Fagee Fashions Latest African Label Launches Pilot Project By Eugene Majuru
Nottingham saw the launching of the latest African fashion label, Fagee Fashions on April 28. Designer and founder of Fagee Fashions, Faith Gakanje organised the fashion show with a team of people who are already in her network. Gakanje began her dressmaking career in Zimbabwe at the age of 16 in a project that was funded by one of Zimbabwe`s late provincial governor, Border Gezi. Former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) radio presenter Kevin Ncube was the master of ceremony.
Attended by a crowd of 70 people, the event started 2 hours later than scheduled, no explanation was given. Tecla Matambo, who also attended the event and was not impressed about the inability to keep to time, she said inability to keep to time was a “setback to business” The event was attended by this reporter who also believes that” Punctuality is the soul of business”
The audience waited patiently and entertainment began with local musician, Zimbabwean born Richard Tapomwa aka” Makeke” who belted out songs from his forth coming album.
Fagee fashions are currently being funded by the Princess Diana Memorial trust which supports refugees and social enterprises. The Rain Foundation is also a funder; it works within four broad sectors to support community projects in the UK. The four sectors are: arts, education, health and medicine social welfare and development.
Volunteers from the Nottingham community included women from various churches, and organisations who helped to sell tickets in advance and to get the venue set up. Some of the women helped prepare food which was sold at the event as part of fund raising.
Miss Zimbabwe UK 2011, Faith Nhemachena also took part in the fashion parade and led the girls on the runway. She was recently appointed the ambassador to Fagee Fashions. Asked what her and immediate plans would be she said ” I hope to enhance the brand and be involved in numerous fund raising activities and support various events and help the children of asylum seekers.”
The models displayed a range of products as they strutted their stuff on the runway. Swimwear and evening wear were the main attractions of the event.
The fashion industry is a very competitive market and one has to be aware what the competitors are doing and aim to do better all the time. This is how designers survive in this industry. Asked whether she was facing competition from other African Fashion designers Gakanje had this to say “I am not aware of anyone out there in Nottingham who may be a threat to me, when competition comes it should be treated as strength to business because it makes you work hard” She went on to say that she was aware of one designer in Nottingham who was not a threat to her as their products were below standard. This reporter asked her if she knew Nottingham’s current top African Fashion designer, Vivi Atto who was taking the country by storm and she said she did not know her but one of her friends had mentioned about her a few days ago.
Gakanje also talked about how she was trying to get the people living in Africa to benefit from her project through the promotion of fair trade, this means they would get rewarded a fair amount of money for their hard work rather than be exploited. The British society would also benefit from African fashion which she described as colourful. Colour has a therapeutic effect.
A keen supporter of Gakanje, Tecla Matambo was happy this event had taken place because “It has made people aware that our African tradition and values should not be lost because we now live in the Diaspora” she went on to say she was a proud African. She made mention to the fact that Africans do not support each other in the Diaspora like the Asian community and this was a shame as it hinders progress and development. She has tried to support Gakanje by attending her events, buying food and contributing money to her projects.
Gakanje was generally pleased with the way the event had gone and wanted to thank all those who had supported by purchasing advance tickets although most of them did not attend the event.
After the event, when asked what he thought of the show: MC Kevin Ncube had this to say “It is fascinating to see the blending of the African and Caribbean community and to see them working as one” He went on to say that” he found the event to be educational and people would have a lot to benefit and that the people were left with resilience.
Challenges to be addressed for future events would be publicise the events as much as possible. Many people in Nottingham were not aware that this event took place, they would have loved to attend and support. Also to be addressed is the issue of time keeping and in future it would be helpful to have a programme which is timed. A timed programme gives a speaker an idea of how much time they need to speak for and of they are overlapping, the MC is able to find a way of letting them know their time was up. This event was a good community event and more such events will help to bring the community together. For more information, projects and events the Fagee Fashions website is: www.fageefashions.com