Clothing label showcases city’s beauty, diversity Ramonia Ndebele in City of Kings dress

Sikhulekelani Moyo, [email protected]

INSPIRED by the city’s rich culture and history, Bulawayo fashion designer has come up with a brand named City of Kings Apparel, a label which is meant to showcase the diversity and beauty of the city through fashion.

The City of Kings is a nickname for Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city.

The brand City of Kings Apparel was established in 2012 and it uses symbols such as African Prints some of which can be traced back to the ethnic groups of the Nguni people as they can still be found printed on modern-day mud huts of the very same ethnic groups.

The apparel logo is the elephant, which was used as the royal seal by King Lobengula, which signified his power and strength.

DJ Sbu wearing a City of Kings T-shirt

The City of Kings is a label that originated under Urban Wear Private Limited Company and it produces casual wear, which includes hoody jackets, dresses, T-shirts, and tracksuits among others.

Urban Wear marketing executive Mqondisi Mazinyane said: “The inspiration for the brand name ‘City of Kings Apparel’ comes from the city’s rich cultural heritage and history of kings and warriors.

The name represents the strength and resilience of the people of Bulawayo, who have overcome challenges throughout the city’s history,” said Mazinyane.

“We intend to ride on the City of Kings history to our competitive advantage by incorporating traditional artwork and patterns into our designs, while also creating merchandise that celebrates important figures or events in Bulawayo’s history.”

Mazinyane said to buttress the label’s meaning, they partner with local communities and artistes including Msiz’Kay, Gemma Griffiths, and South Africa’s DJ Sbu among others.

“We also want to showcase our connection to the local community by being a part of cultural events, we are already partnering with local artistes in a bid to try and establish our footprint and also appeal to consumers who value cultural authenticity and local identity.”

He said City of Kings started with a vision to create a brand that represents an urban lifestyle where people can express their individuality and style.

“We wanted to design clothing that was comfortable, fashionable, and made with high-quality materials, clothing that is fit for kings and queens.

Gemma Griffiths and Asaph with City of Kings sweaters

We intend to separate ourselves from other designers and brands by creating unique and innovative designs, which are aesthetically pleasing and resonate with the target audience,” said Mazinyane.

“We have been working very hard to get ourselves on the map locally, we are happy with the achievements so far but we also recognise that there’s still a long road ahead of us as a brand.

“The local market has been responding well to our products.

As far as exports are concerned, we are not exporting large quantities as of yet but we have been moving some of our apparel across our borders to neighbouring South Africa and overseas to countries like the Netherlands and Canada, these would be items requested by individuals in the respective countries.”

Msiz’ Kay dressed in City of Kings tracksuit

Mazinyane said they focus on high-quality materials, which include using sustainable and eco-friendly materials that appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

The brand also offers personalised service, which includes custom designs and personalised customer support.
Experts continue to urge entrepreneurs to ride on the city’s rich history and strong heritage-based products that have a positive bearing on tourism development, traditional food value chain, unique fashion and design, and entertainment platforms.

This brings a competitive advantage as successful players noticed that people don’t just buy a product but the stories behind it. -@SikhulekelaniM1

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