Melissa Mpofu, Showbiz Editor
FASHION gurus have called on organisers of the forthcoming Zimbabwe Music Awards to ensure presenters as well as nominees are dressed appropriately for the occasion.
This follows the just ended National Art Merit Awards where outfits worn by some presenters and award winners left a lot to be desired. It was easy to tell not much effort was put into their dressing as some wore jeans and t-shirts while others like Josphat Somanje simply pulled out their ill-fitting and archaic colourful suits from their wardrobes. Rapper – Cal_Vin – looked as if he had just learnt of the awards ceremony while jogging in the neighbourhood as he rocked the red carpet in sneakers, tracksuit bottom, t-shirt and Bandana. In turn, this lowered the standards of the event as it seemed cheap.
Though event organisers had put a red carpet – which rightfully is a warning that people need to dress up for the occasion – some unapologetically walked on it with their unpolished shoes and unsatisfactory outfits. As a result, this has angered fashion gurus.
Getting inspiration from watching the Grammy’s held on Monday in Los Angeles, Facebook commentator, Nomathemba Primrose Ndebele, who runs a top-of-the-range boutique for women in Harare, said though Zimbabwean events were in the right track, things such as dressing were critical considering that some of the events are broadcast on DStv, which reaches a wider international market.
“We can’t have ridiculously dressed people on our screens. These people represent Zimbabwe and need to put an effort in their dressing,” Ndebele said.
In apparent reference to people from the Matabeleland region, Ndebele said they must do away with colourful trousers and the all popular Converse All-star tackies when dressing up for evening events.
“Guys from my region . . . What’s with tight-fitting colourful pants and those stupid dirty white tennis shoes?”
The controversial commentator who dressed a couple of notable celebrities at the Namas said Zima organisers needed to take notes from Miss World Zimbabwe organiser – Marry Chiwenga – who has been consistent with dressing at the country’s flagship pageant.
“Zima organisers, please copy what Mrs Chiwenga did on her Miss Zimbabwe 2015 show. It was strictly evening wear, especially on your nominees . . .”
It has been compulsory for Miss World Zimbabwe attendees, journalists and camera personnel included to wear clothes fit for a black tie event. Those who have failed to do so have been sent away by security details who have done so mercilessly.
But what has made Chiwenga-organised events different from the rest are her invites which have several pages detailing what she expects people to wear, especially ladies. The invite is completed with a Regrets section where she lists clothes which are not meant to be worn at the event.
Last year, former Miss Carnival Zimbabwe – Dananai Chipunza was almost turned away at the pageant’s entrance after she turned up clad in what seemed like African attire material. The invite had clearly stated ‘no African attires’. The former beauty queen was only allowed into the venue after defending that her outfit was not an African attire.
The consistency in dress has given the pageant the glitz and glamour it deserves – topped off with expensive whiskeys and wines which are always decorated on guest’s tables.
However, some have argued that in order to have a certain dress code, organisers of events need to go the extra mile and team up with retail shops in order for them to, through sponsorships, dress those with critical roles such as presenters and nominees as they alone, cannot afford.
“We understand that people expect to see us donning designer suits but this is quite costly for us. If arrangements could be made that we get sponsors who’ll dress us then that’ll be great,” said a concerned artiste who requested anonymity.
Owner of leading boutique – Jan Jam in Harare – Cynthia Bizure Sithole said they were willing to sponsor presenters and artistes at events on condition they stick to the agreement.
“After being in this fashion business for years, I appreciate the importance of dressing up personalities and I’m here to support. But this is on condition that the presenters/artistes market our brand in return,” Bizure said.
But, style icon – Craig Zoowie believes it all comes down to planning and that celebrities should never be forgiven for turning up at events shabbily dressed.
“Even if you’re a hip hop star, you can’t just rock up at an awards ceremony in Denim. It doesn’t make sense for others to be in gowns and suits while you are just in a t-shirt,” Zoowie said.
He said award ceremonies were annual events meaning people have a lot of time to save up for them.
“These are annual events and as a celeb, you need to be recognised as a brand. You can’t blame people for not recognising you if you can’t set yourself up as a brand. You need to make a plan to dress up and this is why it’s important that our celebrities consult local designers/stylists for events.
“The good thing about dressing well is that designers and retail shops will be watching. Before you know it, you won’t need to part with money for outfits as they’ll be scrambling to dress you as your brand will be out there.”
The style icon who doubles up as an events planner said he was disappointed with the dressing at the Namas as there was not much local fashion on show.
“I saw more of European dresses from boutiques at the Namas. People, save for Hope Masike and Tari NeGitare, didn’t support local designers, something I feel we need to work on as a country. People must support local designs,” Zoowie said.
The Zimbabwe Music Awards will be held on February 25 at the Harare International Conference Centre. They, like the Namas, will be a red carpet event with celebrities expected to wear their best outfits.