By Sibusiso Moyo
GROWING up in the streets of Bulawayo, Gilmore Tee Moyo, did not see himself becoming an industrious fashion designer until he was in Grade 5 when his artsy talent was recognised.
“It is actually funny how l became involved in the fashion industry. Growing up, l was always interested in artsy things but did not think much about it until in Grade 5 when my paintings were selected to be showcased at the National Gallery in Bulawayo. I was surprised but pleased as I had the chance to represent and shine the light for my primary school,” said Gilmore.
“From there onwards, l grew an eye for creating designs and experimenting with clothing. I was motivated by Sidumo Tshuma, a fashion designer who ignited my interest to become involved in branding and grooming other designers.”
In an interview with Radio Dialogue, Gilmore said in 2014 to early 2016, he and other local designers worked closely with Edgars Stores Limited in facilitating quality assurance workshops for those working in the fashion industry.
Over 150 participants benefited from those workshops, he said.
“I was always good at creating linkages and recognising good talent, therefore 2005 was the year l started doing work with young fashion designers. I am proud to say I have never looked back since then.”
The fashion guru is in involved in producing fashion shows, which are showcased at the annual Intwasa Arts Festival and also created the iFashion Fest.
iFashion is a direct Ndebele word of saying Fashion while Fest is an abbreviated form for festival.
Gilmore Tee said the fushion of iFashionFest is a catchy phrase meant to lure both young and the elderly.
“The idea behind the name – iFashion Fest, which hopefully will also take place every year at the Ibumba Festival, is to fuse local ideas with modern trends in order to attract both a local and international audience. My team and l produce Intwasa fashion show and iFashion Fest, of which it has been a wonderful journey. The progress of both independent shows has been incredible, as we have managed to create and promote growth for the designers who showcase at these events,” he quipped.
“After showcasing we link designers to retail or shop owners whom they can engage in to sell their products and above all the designers have an opportunity to access new opportunities in growing their brands, locally and internationally.”
Gilmore Tee said designers such as Sanah designs, Ara Kani, Zah designs, Tapfumanei, Munenge, amongst many, are a few examples that have participated in his productions and have excelled in international platforms such as South African Menswear week and the Durban Fashion Fair.
“Ara Kani and Tapfumanei Munenge will be back this year to showcase at the 2016 iFashion Fest and we look forward to new interesting fresh designs,” he said.
The rising designer said he has learnt that fashion designers had to be relevant to their geographic location and market.
“Relevance is equal to sustainability. The support from local retailers such as the Edgars Stores has been tremendous and we hope it continues. We also hope the government can chip in and also promote local designers by creating a fund,” he highlighted.
Gilmore Tee said there is a need for the major retailers to also open up space for local fashion designers in order to promote talent and boost local designs.