Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
New fashion label, Ndebele Crush, which has been trending for the better part of the year is making inroads, with more and more personalities, in and out of the country, being spotted donning the brand.
The label which captures Ndebele history, identity and culture started off with t-shirts last year and now wrist watches, sweaters, dresses, hoodies, caps, face shields and bucket hats are part of the range.
The label is being run by musician, Lady Tshawe (real name Nomashawekazi Damasane).
Lady Tshawe, who recently gave birth to a baby boy, said the project started off small as she gifted friends with t-shirts inscripted Ndebele Crush for Christmas.
The name, Ndebele Crush, Lady Tshawe said, caught onto her after one of her followers commented on her post and told her that she was his Ndebele crush.
“Somehow that tag stuck on me and I decided to print a few t-shirts as Christmas gifts for some of my friends. From there, the idea to create a brand that would capture history, identity and culture was born,” said Lady Tshawe.
She said the brand has been well received as more and more people are ordering the various merchandise with t-shirts being the most popular.
Local and South African celebrities have bought into the brand including Ayanda Makayi, an actress on Mtv Shuga, gospel singer Vuyo Brown, Gilmore Tee, Saimon Mambazo, Vusa Mkhaya, Kudakwashe Takundwa and Patience Phiri.
Lady Tshawe said she was grateful to her family and friends who have supported her dream.
Explaining the label’s design, she said the chevron pattern around the words Ndebele Crush is what gives the brand its identity. The chevron pattern is synonymous with many African cultures.
It is a fertility symbol/motif/icon which has been reconfigured to effect variety and avoid monotony. With the Ndebele Crush brand, Lady Tshawe said she wanted to start conversations about Ndebele history.
“I wanted people to talk about who we are as people and what our culture is all about. A lot of the time, we have people who say young people don’t know their history, they don’t know their identity and they’ve no idea about their culture.
“So, Ndebele Crush seeks to start the conversation. We are very deliberate about or branding,” said Lady Tshawe.
“We have the chevron shape and we don’t use a lot of colour within the design factor on our chevron. It’s just plain mainly because the chevron is not only unique to the Ndebele tribe, but even in other tribes that identify with the chevron.
“The chevron means a lot of things to people and we want people to talk about what it means. The Great Zimbabwe was designed with the chevron shape.”
Commenting on the brand, media personality, Patience Phiri, who recently showed off her Ndebele Crush wrist watch on social media, hailed Lady Tshawe for coming up with a quality brand. “I love it when local designers put out top class products that can compete anywhere in the world. It makes it so much easier to support them and show off that we are worthy and bankable,” said Phiri.
“Ndebele Crush for me is more than just the label, it’s my identity, culture and pride. So when I wear the t-shirt or watch, I’m telling people who I am and that I’m very proud of being a Ndebele Crush.”
Tshawe said in order to buy the products, people can visit the label’s social media pages adding that a shoe line is next in line. — @bonganinkunzi