The Sunday Mail
Robin Chaibva —
AFTER calling off the 2016 edition of the event, founder of Zimbabwe Fashion Week (ZFW), Priscilla Chigariro-Gessen, has sold the franchise to investors.
Speaking to Style Corner, Priscilla said she had decided to expand her group of companies into the international luxury market, thus her reason for selling the ZFW franchise to “investors who have the capacity to fully support it and take it to greater heights”.
Last year’s Zimbabwe Fashion Week was marred by the fallout between local organisers and South African fashion show production company, Group of Creatives – GRP/cr8/. The 2015 event also had their headline designer, New York-based Farai Simoyi, pullout of the show. Despite the hurdles the event faced, Oliver Mtukudzi’s showcasing of his collection made the event worthwhile.
It is unclear though whether Priscilla is calling it quits because of the controversy or that she is just choosing to focus on bigger perhaps even more rewarding pursuits.
In Zimbabwe Priscilla opened two local fashion designer labels along the, The Sp_ce, an interactive shopping experience retail space for Zimbabwean designers and artistes. In Moscow, Russia, the fashion entrepreneur has partnered with former Fashion Director of Marie Claire Russia, Anna Rykova, to launch a new project called Africa Art, Fashion & Food (AAFFF) slated for May 2017.
With this project, select Africans including Zimbabwean designers will receive a brief and invited to submit collection proposals to participate in the inaugural event in Moscow.
The event will be aimed at giving African designers, artistes and musicians an international commercial platform with Russian fashion elite and media. Explaining the Moscow-based project, Priscilla said, “This is just another step in making sure Zimbabwean designers get more international exposure that is actually meaningful.”
She founded ZFW in 2009 and for the past seven years turned it into a platform which many local fashion designers benefited from and even got regional recognition. The platform created a fashion community of artistes, stylists, designers and bloggers.
She says the decision to sell the ZFW franchise was to focus on exporting Zimbabwean design and art talent to other countries through AAFFF.
“I sold only the ZFW event but will continue to do other events in Zimbabwe like Musica Festival,” she emphasised.
On balancing the businesses in Zimbabwe and Russia, Priscilla said, “I now have a home in Moscow, so I will be based in Russia for half a year at a time as I work on AAFFF but I still have my home in Harare as well.”