Hello lovely readers!
Thank you for returning to my blog. If this is your first time here, do feel at home and come by often 🙂
In the past few days, bloggers from across Africa have been engaging in culture and fashion centered conversations. This is in line with the #WinterABC weekly themed challenge by Afrobloggers which has been going on in the month of June.
In today’s blog edition, I am honoured to be virtually joined by an amazing Zambian Fashion Designer- Kabwe Chongo, the talent behind the phenomenal RKC brand.
In this e-dialogue, we converse on all things fashion with a dash of culture. Please do enjoy reading and viewing some of her stunning creations :
… Something that I learned is that fashion and culture dance around each other with people and communities at the center …-Excerpt from this E-nterview
- What does fashion mean to you?
- Fashion for me has always been a means of expression. There are times that I use fashion to
quite literally communicate how I was feeling! I had a dress I loved to wear when I felt
confident, my favorite pajamas when I want to feel comfortable and cozy, you know things like
- But on another front, fashion is a means for me to channel creativity and possibility. I like
being able to look at a concept and to see if I can make it a dress, a print or something!
2. How would you describe your brand in a few words?
- I like to say that my brand is for women and by women. I have to apologize to everyone that I
gave he, I will not be doing men’s clothing ever! I want women who work with me to feel like we
are old friends collaborating on a fun project together, that we are taking this journey in
creating an experience rather than just “getting a dress made”.
3. How long have you been in the industry?
- I don’t even think I’m in the industry yet! But I have been working seriously for two years and
been into fashion since tenth grade.
4. Where do you draw your inspiration and motivation as a fashion designer?
- I draw my inspiration from a lot of places but mainly from other creators. I have always loved
design and fashion and seeing the work of other designers always ignites a fire in me.
- Another source of inspiration is music and visual art. There is something about beautiful music that
creates a moment and sometimes I’ll be listening to like Beyoncé and I’m thinking “Wow, I can
see a dress that would be a beautiful moment for this music video.” Or I may be watching a
movie and monumentally irritated with a style choice because I feel something else would have
5. To what extent do you feel culture influences fashion?
- I took a class last year on this and something that I learned is that fashion and culture dance
around each other with people and communities at the center. In essence, people’s values and
customs heavily influence how they will express themselves in their clothing. A great example is
how we use chitenges in our culture as covering or reserve chitenge garments for certain special
- People are largely at the root of these expressions and as our culture slowly becomes
more “modern” we see attitudes towards certain clothing changing because at the center,
people are changing.
6. What are some of the fashion myths you would like to demystify?
- Oh wow! Firstly, you don’t need to know how to sew to be a fashion designer. A lot of fashion is
about collaborating with who has the best skills to bring out your vision or idea.
- Another myth that I would love to fully confront is that fashion is vain or it doesn’t require much thought.
There are times when one looks at fashion and feels they couldn’t be bothered with trends or
the like. But I feel it is important to care about how we clothe our bodies, that we pay attention
to making sure we have clothes that fit us well and make us feel comfortable.
- Even in our limited choices I feel it is important to choose clothes we look forward to wearing and not just
buying clothes because we can. I feel that fashion needs to be intentional.
7. What are your customer retaining techniques?
- I pay attention to giving as great a customer experience as I am able to. From a simple greeting, to a
smile as you serve or a quick apology coupled with amends. They go a long way in keeping
customers and they form relationships that turn into referrals!
8. What are some strengths and weaknesses of the fashion industry from a designer perspective?
- I think the fashion industry in Zambia particularly has vast room to grow in terms of diversifying
what jobs can be done and how much can be made from these jobs. When someone says they
want to go into fashion most of the time, you think they want to be a tailor but there are so
many careers out there that one wouldn’t believe! I look at the industry and hope for the day
that those amazing opportunities will be available here.
- However, I do think that our industry is amazingly resilient. We may not have the very best equipment or innovation readily available but we are producing wonderful and amazing garments on all levels possible and it is amazing to watch.
9. Any closing remarks?
- Thank you for taking time out to listen to what I have to say about fashion and I hope to speak
to you again!
To get in touch and view more of the amazing work done by RKC, here is the link to the website: https://msha.ke/rienbykc/
Thank you for reading!
Until next time,
Live on and read on!