Senior Arts Reporter
Creative fashion designer Kuda Matiza says fashion designers should embrace the new norm of virtual platforms to showcase their wares to stay relevant in this period characterised by Covid-19 restrictions.
Matiza made the call after observing that some designers were failing to continue working because of the pandemic.
In an interview with The Herald Arts, Matiza said social media had paid off in his line of business.
He said with fashion, it was easy to connect with people through social media platforms and that helped him to gain followers and stay relevant.
“I am much surprised with how some fashion designers are complaining that there is no work and with no events taking place, the clients are few,” he said.
“Have they considered to continue designing and do digital fashion shows? Look at what the famous London Fashion Week did in September, they hosted a digital fashion show which was a success. I know the live experiential shows bring out the glowing touch and vibe, but for now, it needs a lot of investment.”
Matiza said designers should be creative in order to sustain their livelihoods.
Matiza, who is influenced by music, film and art, has managed to create the “House of Hohwa” brand which has been recognised across the globe.
The brand was mentioned by Forbes as one of 20 most Creative Designers for 2020.
“I named it House of Hohwa because of how the mushroom itself is a symbol of diversity, colour and culture,” said Matiza. “Hohwa carries the identity of the concept designs and themes of African stories.”
Matiza said fashion helped him express his feelings.
“I went to South Africa some years back to seek a career in the creative industry,” he said. “I studied film and the fashion industry found me while I was in school.
“The fashion industry would teach me a lot after working for international and local brands. Fashion has helped me to express my thoughts to a tangible perspective.
“All the art forms I was involved in limited me in creating the tangible and in fashion I am capable of voicing my concepts which are influenced by my extraordinary African continent.”
Matiza recently launched his summer/winter collection on virtual platforms . He has worked with some local and regional celebrities.
“I have worked with celebrities who include Oskido, Tino Chiinyani, Joe Kazadi, Sibu Jili, ExQ, DJ Scara and the popular Ndlovu Youth Choir, among others,” he said.
“From an economic point of view, we need to focus on local manufacturing and limit the number of clothing imports into our continent to help local brands grow and export fine quality products abroad.
“If we do that, even the local market will be able to carry a huge part of our economies and create employment opportunities for the future.”
Asked who his role model was, Matiza said he did not have any, but was motivated by different personalities on particular subjects.
“I admire different people as each has a different attribute that I like,” he said. “The likes of Jean Michel Basquiat in Art, Alexander McQueen for his controversial depiction for fashion, James Chimombe for his absolute fusion of different types of music, and Cassper Nyovest for his smart work ethic, among others.”
Matiza said Covid-19 had been a very complex phase for him as a designer as it limited his work.