Musician Oliver Mtukudzi’s ethnic garb is set to hit the market very soon, The Saturday Herald Lifestyle has learnt. A preview of the pieces to be expected has been released on social media with Tuku himself modelling the apparel. The look is a classy ethnic style of what has come to be known as the Dashiki prints coupled with clean lines in the cut.
Tuku announced his presence on the clothing scene during the recently ended Zimbabwe Fashion Week when he presented his designer stage outfits:
“I am taking part in this year’s event to show my support and to encourage other Zimbabweans to do the same. There is a lot that we can showcase as Zimbabweans, let’s use this platform to promote ourselves and our identity. We need something to identify with in terms of fashion and this is a great starting point,” said Mtukudzi.
Sources close to the musician have revealed that now Tuku wants to take the next step and put his designs on the market hence the planned launch which the source said has been pencilled for next weekend.
Earlier this year Tuku launched his Hai-Kobo limited range of footwear comprising a diverse range of genuine leather men’s shoes and sandals which went on retail at Barbours departmental store in Harare and Socrati Man, Rosebank, in South Africa.
Said Mtukudzi prior to the launch: “Hai-kobo is an uplifting dance, it is for releasing distressed emotions, and it is a therapeutic dance.” He believes that with his new brand of footwear, fans will find resonance with the values espoused by his yesteryear music and the dances that were popular then.” Plans were announced to introduce women, children’s and school wear ranges but these have as yet not materialised.
A visit to the departmental shop shows that the brand is priced from $88 to $95. It would appear that the range has not been selling well as it has a clearance sale offering of a 33 percent discount in addition to a buy one and get one free offer.
On asking a sales assistant on how the sales were the reply was:
“They are being picked up here and there.”
Sales volumes in many sectors outside the fast moving consumer goods industry have been low for a while in the country now. Barbours’ sister departmental stores Meikles and Greatermans have been closed and replaced with supermarkets over the past months.
Efforts to find out how the brand is performing in South Africa were unfruitful as we could not establish contact with the retailer.
When he puts his clothes on the market Tuku will be joining other local musicians who have also decided to ride on their musical popularity to push their clothing labels.
Desmond “Stunner” Chideme launched Zvirisei sei label three years ago and for a while it trended. It has since appeared to have gone off the radar of his fan base made up of fad conscious male youths.
Cindy Munyavi who runs a clothing retail shop has started taking steps to introduce her own brand called Cindy Wear to add to the merchandise that she buys outside the country.
Gospel musician Mudiwa has established his MW (Mwana Wamambo) label which is out there. Fungisai Zvakavapano Mashavave designs some gowns.
Zimdancehall chanter Seh Calaz has his Mabhanditi label. At one point Alick Macheso appeared to have mulled establishing a clothing line at the behest of now ex-wife Fortunate Mapako.
None of the musicians’ labels have really taken off in the mainstream.
They have faced stiff competition from local designers like those behind Totem Pride, Boyz Dzetonaz and Harare Tees, the labels which are finding their space in a market that was once dominated by Faithwear for years.
Musically Tuku is in a class of his own with his multitude of albums and an extensive fan base spanning the continent and beyond. Therefore it stands to reason that the superstar musician stands a much better chance of making it big with his brand than the rest.