Still on the Fashion Designer category of Zimbabwe Achiever Awards scheduled for 28 April which we’re proud media partners for, today we bring you Leahafricandesign. Leah Mubwanda tells Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo her bespoke kaftans and African print blazers, designing for dream clients Oprah Winfrey and Beyonce and being endorsed to design the Zimbabwean national dress.
As we continue to bring you our exclusive interviews with all the nominees, don’t forget to visit the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards website to purchase your tickets for the event at the prestigious The Grange Tower Hill and to view and vote for nominees in fashion and all other categories.
Tell us a little about your brand and its history?
Leah Africandesign is the label established by me, Leah Mubwanda. I was born with a passion of Fashion through the influence of my mother who was also a fashion guru back in Zimbabwe. I decided to persue studies in fashion & designing by enrolling at Polytechnic Harare in 1994.
My brand is versatile with a twist of Southern African contemporary ethnic design. My designs are exquisite and beautiful. I designed a few garments that caught the eye of Nana Boateng who is well known and established designer from Ghana and he encouraged me to take my designs at a higher level. Leah Africandesign approaches her designs in a way that’s unique, personal and subjective.
Tell us a bit about your latest collection?
My latest collection is the finest bespoke kaftans and African print blazer. We guarantee the creation of a stunning one of a kind designs exclusively designed to fit any size or any shape. These are striking designs to suit both men and women.
I am also working on my bridal collections, gowns, red carpet evening wear dresses. We use luxurious fabrics on our bridal wear collections. We are currently working on our upcoming events in May 2012: I am humbled to show case my latest designs/collections at DJ CLEO & OSIKIDO Live Show SHOW in the UK and Miss Zim Expo in the USA in North Carolina.
How would you describe the Leah Africandesign woman?
Leah Africandesign woman is confident, classy, humble, God fearing, vibrant and always keen to look glamorous at all times. She is proud to be an African lady born from a beautiful country Zimbabwe. She always strives to deliver distinctive style which is exclusive and people can easily associate me with my designs. Leah African design is very business minded and very creative. My number one policy is good customer care, good time keeping, and meeting all my clients’ needs and expectations. Leah Africandesign was crowned the Face of Sun Godess title in South Africa.
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
I draw all my inspirations from Kimora Lee Simmons, because she is very creative and very business minded like myself. And my mother; she is my rock/she is a fashionista.
I am also inspired by my African heritage and I will do my best to ensure a continuation of this to the younger generations to embrace their culture and just being proud of being an African.
Who are some of the brand ambassadors?
My Bbrand ambassadors are Zim-Expo USA, Sportlight Magazine, international publications (Germany, USA, Australia,South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe) Temidayo Production, Infinity Musicians, Cynthia Mare, Sun Goddess, Sporah Show, Zim Entertainment Channel, and inspirational speakers such as Glorriane Francis, Betty Makoni, Bekezile Nsigo, Eve Parks.
And who would you like to see wearing your label?
I would like to see Beyonce rocking one of my Ankara, African print blazers with her jeans looking trendy and performing at one of her big shows in US. I would be honoured to design a dress for Mrs Sinem Bilem-Onabanjo.
I would like to see some TV presenters rocking my designs the likes of Wendy William and Oprah Winfrey.
I have been endorsed to design our Zimbabwean National dress. I am so looking forward to this challenge and in future I would love to have the opportunity to design a garment for the First Lady.
Where can fans of the brand buy your creations?
My fans can buy my creations online, or they can come to my studio/fashion parlour in Dagenham. I also use Facebook to advertise my collections.
Feel free to check out my website: www.africanqueen1.co.uk
Facebook: Leah Africandesign.
How does it feel being nominated in the fashion category of the ZAAs and what would it mean to win this award?
I feel really honoured and humbled to be nominated yet again this year at the ZAAs. A big thank you to my entire customers, business colleagues, family and friends for all their endless support. It will really boost my career if I win, and it will make a difference if Leah Africandesign takes the dong home.
What’s next in 2012 and beyond for Leah Africandesign?
In 2012 I aim to organise an annual fashion event focusing on African and European styles. This event will be used as a platform for our local and elite fashion designers to present their exclusive collections to the regional and international media, buyers, shoppers and fashionistas.
We will also be launching our Harare, Zimbabwe branch soon!
And our classic question with a twist: What is FAB about being Zimbabwean?
We are hardworking, polite, humble and well educated people.by