In Conversation with: Tanya Mushayi
I’m Tanya Mushayi, a Zimbabwean designer building my clothing brand Tanya Nefertari through social media. I started out making clothes for myself, wearing my own designs and blogging about them. It’s been a whirlwind. The rest is history.
Where did your love for fashion come from?
My love for fashion started from a young age it came from a lack of what I wanted to be available, so I decided to slowly and gradually bring my vision to life.
If you weren’t a fashion designer what would you be?
I’d be an archaeologist.
Of all the clothes you have designed over the years have you got favourites?
The ankara print jacket is my favourite, it was loud and had a retro 90’s style to it, I’m sad I don’t own one myself, I ended up selling the sample too haha
What would you say has been the key to your success within the Zim fashion industry?
I wouldn’t say I’m successful, I just keep my head down and do the work.
Who are the rocks in your life?
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
My phone, It’s basically my office.
Zim fashion industry has many talented designers, but what do you think is needed to sustain it as an industry?
We need infrastructure and set out systems that would support the industry, from workers, fabric stockists to designers it’s very difficult at the moment there are no systems in place.
Who are your favourite designers locally and internationally?
Locally: Blaque Excellence & Ska Sebata
Internationally: Christian Lacroix
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Being interviewed by the BBC on their BBC Africa Business Report segment.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs from?
My inspiration for my designs come from everyday life, nature and Art Deco.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from life so far?
I’ve learnt to not sweat the small stuff, if it’s not going to matter in the next month it’s not a big deal, there’s always bigger fish to fry.
Name the top songs in your playlist right now and what makes them special to you?
The tops songs in my playlist right now are by various artists including Burna boy, Shekhinah, Davido & Eugy they remind me of last summer (2017).
Growing up, did you always want to be a designer?
Yes and no, I wanted to be an archaeologist mostly, but in hindsight I was always a designer. I used to customise clothes and trainers when I was in high school and I ended up studying design in college and university.
What are you most proud of about being Zimbabwean?
I’m proud of our people and how beautiful Zimbabwe is, there’s beauty everywhere you look.
Describe a typical day in your life.
Depending on what I’m working on, I start off with researching, designing, drafting a pattern and cutting then sewing a sample if time permits.
What have been the highs and lows of your career so far?
The highs of my career have been when people send pictures of them wearing Tanya Nefertari. The lows have been recent, the difficulties of buying fabrics and haberdashery that I want due to the cash crisis in Zimbabwe. A lot of shops have been closing such that it limits the material and the cost has doubled due to shortages of cash.
If you could give up something for a year, what would it be and why?
I’d give up television in a heartbeat, I don’t see how it adds anything constructive to my life.
How would you like to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered for my work and for bringing uniqueness and individuality to a world otherwise ruled by fashion clones.
What can we expect from you for the future, what should we lookout for in 2018?
Expect the unexpected in 2018 just keep watching Tanya Nefertari social media pages ;)
What advice would you give to young Zimbabwean designers who are looking to get into the industry?
My advice is the benefits and rewards of being a designer in Zimbabwe, the sky is the limit. Being here allows you to have creative freedom as a designer. You have less constraints when it comes to following Western trends. You should try your best not to let the west dictate what we should look and dress like in the Southern hemisphere. Your customers can be very supportive and receptive if you execute your vision well.
Social media /Website
Instagram - http://instagram.com/TanyaNefertari
Website - http://tanyanefertari.com
Facebook - http://facebook.com/TanyaNefertari