I am a writer and executive administrator for Trusted Clothes, which is an ethical and sustainable fashion organization. The following is a series devoted in honor of the work done in collaboration with the Schroeckers and the Trusted Clothes team.
I want to talk a little bit today about a topic close to the hearts of many people, but with a little bit of background via provision of context. And it is something of interest to me, too, with respect to the African Diaspora. It’s about an individual nation within the African Diaspora. I want to talk about Zimbabwe and its fashion industry. Zimbabwe is a country in Southern Africa that is landlocked. Some notable areas of the country are the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls in addition to the Patoka Gorge.
The capital is Harare, and the current president of Zimbabwe is Robert Mugabe. He runs the country with a population totaling 14.15 million people. In fact, he’s been President since 1980. That’s a long time. The accepted currencies are the US dollar, the Euro, the Botswana Pula, the Pound Sterling, and the South African Rand. The official languages are English, Ndebele, and Shona. Zimbabwe has a rich, and varied history including a Precolonial Era, the Colonial Era, the Unilateral Declaration of Independence and the Civil War, and the Independence Era.
The climate is tropical. Some of the flora and fauna of the region include evergreen and hardwood forests, and extends to over 350 species of mammals that can be found there, and even 500 species of bird and over 130 fish species. In addition to this, there are some international human rights concerns in terms of the organization positions reports such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch examining violations of rights for food, freedom of assembly and movement, shelter, and even protection of the law.
One of the main points of strength in the country relates to the high adult literacy rate of Zimbabwe within the African Diaspora. According to 2013 reports, the literacy rate is the highest in the continent of Africa at about 90.7% for the adult population although, half of Zimbabwe’s children have not progressed beyond primary school. In addition, some of the wealthier members of the population send their children to independent schools as opposed to some of the schools run by the government. So, with that in mind and in terms of providing a context for some of the culture, not necessarily in terms of pluses and minuses, this, rather, gives a context and complement to the presentation of fashion in Zimbabwe.
This is an interesting topic to me. I believe that it might be of interest to others. Sustainability is a challenge for the entire world. Fashion is a core aspect of her culture. To begin with some of the aspects of Zimbabwean fashion and culture, we can look at some of the historic precedents in the long history of the culture for instance, the traditional fashion and culture.
You can also show marital status with a married woman traditionally wearing a blanket over the shoulders with thick beaded hoops of grass, grass that is twisted. This can also include copper rings or brass rings around the neck, legs, or arms. The colors can range from blues, greens, reds, yellows, and browns. It is an important note that the head covering is an external sign of respect for the husbands. Little girls might wear beaded aprons or beaded skirts. Men can also wear animal skin headbands and ankle bands.
Of course, as influence from West and the Western world through colonialization occurred, the current European and Western set of apparels can bleed into the culture and affect the current generations for the future generations with respect to their choice of clothing. This sense of style can then change over time. This, then, changes the future culture. In other words, the more indigenous and more traditional aspects of them in the Zimbabwean culture has been influenced by the European or western culture, especially in regard to some of the context given before about the Colonial Era. Duly noted, there was a separation between the Precolonial Era and the Colonial Era. In addition, you can note the Independence Day is celebrated by the culture.
Now, with respect to the modern fashion culture of Zimbabwe, many of the citizens and individuals in the country wear, apparently, modern and Western-style clothing as the usual outfit. In other words, very few people will wear the traditional clothing on a regular basis within the country. It’s important to keep in mind stereotypes that might be in one’s mind and then contrast that with the reality. Sometimes true, sometimes false, or at times partially or even mostly true; it depends. Of course, there are the major fashion icons within the country that can then therefore produce aspects of the traditional culture within the fashion culture. Ofcourse, this can also come into direct contact with the mixing and matching culture that seems to me like a large part of the international fashion culture. That’s all for now, thanks!