Dream big and dare to free style

For students that live at the Pearson Institute of Higher Education (PI) residence, Yolanda Dinhidza is one of the few slander young ladies you would not by-pass without noticing her unique sense of fashion. Yolanda Dinhidza’s style is a combination of both western and African clothing coupled with designer label bags such as Louis Vuitton.  The 23-year-old Zimbabwean aspiring designer born and raised in the Matebeleland province of Zimbabwe is currently studying law and loves to rock ripped jeans and sneakers with a touch of African prints or accessories.

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Yolanda sitting for a photoshoot. Picture taken by Mulumbwa Luchen 

Yolanda also known as “Simple Yolae” for her love of culture with some added flavour of western clothing says preserving cultural identity through fashion has helped her connect with her culture as a Shona. Therefore, the incorporation of denim ripped jeans with African print shirts communicates messages about how easy it is to preserve cultural identity while keeping things casual, funky and classy. For Yolanda, the idea of wearing denim jeans with multiple holes and scratches for instance not only makes the outfit appealing but also makes statements about the person’s personality.

What is interesting to note about Yolanda is that she is more than a lover of fashion because she is also a model. Being blessed with multiple talents, she is able to make alterations to whatever type of clothes she feels needs a touch of fashion and style. She does not have to buy specific clothes because unlike most people, she is able to turn ugly ordinary clothes or jeans into a sensual outfit.

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Due to her love for fashion and curiosity to make alterations to clothes Yolanda has dared to come up unquie traits such as ripping jeans using scissors and dyeing the clothes into different colours from the original colour.

“I discovered my talent five years ago in high school when I made changes to my sports outfit because I did not like how it looked and so i decided to get scissors and cut the arms and rip a few sides of the shirt”. Although some people do not understand why dresses the way she does, their opinions about her do not faze her but instead inspire her to continue working hard towards her dream.

Yolanda, is among the many designers out there that wish to make it big because it is through fashion that she can fully express and communicate what she believes in particularly her personality. However, although her work is currently limited to designing clothes for her fellow students and friends, she has worked with student entrepreneurs  like Lihle the owner of Res life which is a clothing label aimed at young people. She has featured in some of his promotional advertisements. Yolanda encourages everyone out there especially young people that have dreams to work on their dreams because no one can make another person’s dream come true besides themselves.

Even though she is pursuing a degree in law, that does not change the fact that her passion lies in the fashion industry and with time she will be able to get exposure as she believes getting to the top is not easy. From the time Yolanda came to South Africa, she has followed the likes of Gibson Dlamini, a model for the Soweto Fashion Week who was once a student at Pearson Institute of Higher Education as well as Ngugi Vere the creative director and producer of Soweto Fashion because the two inspire her.

Yolanda ends by saying her role model is Ngugi Vere because not only is he a fashion designer but also a Zimbabwean national that has made it big in South Africa and for that, he inspires her to not give up on her dream

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Preserving cultural identity through African fashion

It is essential for cultures to preserve their cultural identity because the traditional values on which cultures are founded are easily identified by the pace at which the cultures acknowledge and accept modernisation. Today, the media plays an important role in reinforcing the bond between western clothing and African clothing while encouraging African countries to preserve their cultural identity.

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Pictures obtained from Google

Therefore, the African fashion industry helps cultures celebrate their culture because the traditional attires from the different African country each emphasize the beauty that exists within their cultures. The clothes are unique because the clothes contain mixture of both western and African texture to make the clothes fashionable and appealing. Although, the outfits contain western style the clothes enable people identify with their cultures while making fashion statements. The choice of colour and how the clothes are designed carry purpose and meaning such as status, wealth, tribe and ethnicity. For instance, the clothes that Nigerian wear is different from South African traditional attire but they all carry the same idea which is representing their cultures.

Despite Africa been among the seven developing economies in the world the African style industry has not received as much attention and required and although the African fashion industry now enjoys the presence of the media, governments are doing little to support the industry and as a result the African fashion industry could be considered funded by the private sector.  The idea that African designers are making it on the international market is a sign that the world is actually acknowledging the importance of African fashion while attracting investors.