Top 10 Fashion Designers From Tanzania
Swahili Fashion Week is one of the biggest and largest annual fashion events in East and Central Africa providing a platform for fashion and accessory designers from Swahili-speaking countries and beyond to showcase their talent, market their creativity, and network with clientele and the international fashion industry.
This is all aimed at emphasizing to the region that fashion is an income-generating creative industry, meanwhile promoting a Made in Africa concept, Swahili Fashion Week is a platform founded and created by celebrated Pan African couturier from Tanzania, Mustafa Hassanali in the year 2008.
1. Doreen Mashika
Doreen Mashika was born and raised in Tanzania, studied and work in Switzerland, and is now part of a growing homeward-bound African diaspora. While in Switzerland she began her career in the financial industry, specializing in goods fund management, Doreen doesn’t only design bags but she is an all-around designer she designs anything from shoes, bags, and stunning clothes. What I like about her designs is that she incorporates the western culture and African style.
She is also one of the designers who manage to create something new and exciting with African textiles – in this case with Kitenge fabrics, This is where she had her first contact with the fashion industry and designers, providing her a unique insight and appreciation of the sector. Inspired by a deep sense of affection for the cultural heritage and wealth of design possibilities in Africa, she returned to Tanzania and settled in Zanzibar to pursue her passion for design while building a successful company.
2. KiKi’s Fashion
Kikis fashion founder and CEO, Christine Kissa Zimba popularly known as Kiki Zimba, was born on Christmas day 25th December 1977 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Kiki Zimba is married and a mother of 3yrs old son, she is a new designer in town and a businesswoman as well.
Kikis Fashion is another fashion home owned by Kiki Zimba. She portrays her fashion and personality via her fashion brand, through her creativity and designs. She mostly customizes her designs to women and children and captures their hearts with stylish long dresses, evening gowns, or short skirts. If you’re a fashion-savvy lady, you will always find something new at Kiki Fashion. She incorporates her designs with Kitenge and Ankara. She is currently big on African prints.
Well Fashion is in her blood, Kiki feel that fashion design is an art and a way of expressing oneself creatively and she has been able to make people wear her label, and she is so proud of that, Kiki Zimba has also designed Vodacom Miss Tanzania 2011 Dance and Beachwear and her target was to sell her brand worldwide.
3. Mustafa Hassanali
Tanzanian Mustafa Hassanali is a medical doctor who began fashion designing as a hobby in 1999. Hoyce Temu wore one of his first creations and was crowned Miss Tanzania that same year, wearing his signature evening gown. This initial hobby has turned into a fully-fledged career for Mustafa who has shown his collections across Africa and outside the continent in promoting the Tanzanian fashion industry.
Mustafa has showcased his creations in over 31 cities across 21 countries globally representing Tanzania as a Fashion and Cultural ambassador. He is highly appreciated at the international level by working alongside Naomi Campbell. Mustafa is still on that ladder to leave his mark on his work globally.
His zest for fashion is not limited to fostering his own creations and offering something new to his target audience, but he is also concerned about the growth of the industry. In 2008, he launched the Swahili Fashion Week, which has created a promising platform for established designers and models, as well as emerging talent. This event has now become the largest fashion event in East and Central Africa. Hassanali was also appointed by the minister for information, youth, culture, and sports as a member of the steering committee to search for the Tanzania national attire.
4. Khadija Mwanamboka
Khadija’s 24 years of progressive achievements in fashion designing, organizing events, opportunities to youth and women to express themselves through fashion, marketing promotions, ambassador/influencer for different organizations, initiatives, and campaigns through the promotion of different services and products. She is very enthusiastic, highly motivated, and resourceful. Khadija is Poised and self-confident in dealing with a wide variety of people.
One of the top trail-blazers and trendsetters in the Tanzanian fashion industry, Khadija continues to set the pace in the African fashion arena locally, regionally, and internationally.
Khadija is not only a fashion designer but enjoys giving back to her community. She is a founder and chairperson of Tanzania Mitindo House, a not-for-profit social initiative to utilize fashion designing in the country for community-based charities geared at assisting HIV/AIDS orphans.
5. Evelyn Rugemalira
Evelyn is the creative director of Eve Collection. All she needed to set her on the fashion path was the inspiration she got during a trip to Lagos Nigeria. Her passion was ignited after seeing and experiencing western African fashion enthusiasts at work. She believes that Fashion has the ability to inspire, inform and document what society says. She mostly uses kitenge and Ankara for her designs. Her audience is mostly women with an endearing soft spot for curvy women.
In the last few months Eve has been very privileged to dress several Tanzanian celebrities in the likes of Madame Rita Paulsen of Bongo Star and Wema Sepetu a well known Tanzanian businesswoman and actress and most recently Eve had the honor of dressing Miss Tanzania 2012 who represented Tanzania in the Miss World competition in Malaysia, Eve Collections was also featured in Mashariki Mix in October 2013.
In a span of few years, Evelyn has had a huge success in different fashion shows and Exhibitions namely the Women Worth Fashion Show June 2011, Swahili Fashion Week November 2011, Red Ribbon Gala Dec 2011 and 2012, Khanga za Kale November 2012, and recently the South African Fashion Week April 2012. Eve has also been featured in the popular and trendy Bang Magazine in 2011
6. Kemi Kalikawe
Kalikawe is the founder of Naledi Fashion House, which was established in 2008. By profession, Kemi is an interior designer who is inspired by all forms of designs and creativity. She found passion in fashion as a natural progression from interior designing. Naledi fashion house designs are all created by Miss Kemi Kalikawe herself and they are ready-to-wear casual or contemporary afro-urban fashion for both men and women.
The name Naledi means “star” in Tswana, one of the languages spoken in Botswana and Amazing Africa thinks that is a perfectly fitting name for one of Botswana’s rising young entrepreneurial stars, Kalikawe’s uses indigenous Tanzanian fabrics Khanga and Kitenge for some of her women’s dresses too. But her best selling item is the sandal.
The designer makes heavy use of one of national Tanzania’s fabric Khanga alongside the Kitenge and the Ankara. Kemi recently participated and won the award of Innovative Designer of the Year award at the Swahili Fashion Week in Tanzania.
7. Jamilla Vera Swai
Jamilla Vera Swai’s label caters to women who infuse exotic vibrant style, glamour, and sophistication into their professional and social lifestyle, vibrant, exotic, all in your face extraordinaire designs. Jamilla’s love affair with fashion started at the tender age of 7 when she came across her auntie’s fashion sketches.
At the age of 14, while she was still in high school, she started modeling for adverts on a local TV station in Maputo as well as designing for the agency she was signed with, Estudio Stilo. To perfect her skills she joined Institute de Bela Artes in Maputo to study fashion then, later on, moved to Fashion College International in Nairobi to complete her studies.
8. Ally Rhemtullah
Ally Rhemtullah is one of the upcoming fashion designers of Tanzania, Young at heart and creative, There was a time where the arena was dominated by “so-called” designers but with the emergence of this new blood, new talent, everything is changing for the development and betterment of the fashion industry of Tanzania
Ever since he was a child he was always in love with drawing, painting, and using colors as his daily playing elements. Ally had a dream to be a fashion designer, and after a lot of hard work, he achieved his goals and is now starting his career in the fashion industry.
Allys fashion talents are like the unique Tanzanian art of “Makonde” carvings. His creations are a blend of wearable garments which are in the true sense combination cultures, styles, and fabrics. Ally is a Tanzanian, born and raised within Indian ethnicity. The opportunity to go to the west to obtain his degree made him knowledgeable of all three different parts of the world, thus the ability to create designs with inspiration from all the cultures.
Different colors in nature inspire Ally to create his designs, he also gets inspiration from his fellow colleagues who have been in the industry for a long time.
9. Fatma Amour
Fatma Amour is a fashion designer from Tanzania who makes use of traditional materials like leather and tree bark, inspired by the designs of the Hadzabe people of north-central Tanzania.
The moment she set foot in Hadzabe land, Amour knew she had found her calling bringing the richness of Hadzabe tradition to the outside world, the Hadzabe live around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti plateau, where Western “civilization” hasn’t touched the ground.
They are one of the few groups left in Tanzania whose life still revolves around hunting and gathering. Their garments are mostly made from leather from animals they hunt and tree bark from the natural forest, for people who still believe that Europe and America are the founts of fashion, Amour has a message with her eye-catching traditional creations
10. Farha Sultan
Farah Sultan, Founder of ARNAA and graduate of the AUS Design Management Program in the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), will give a talk on how to create your international brand. Farah Sultan is an example of an AUS alumna who studied hard and applied the knowledge she learned on the design management degree program to her life, to her graduate studies in Italy, and to the prolific creative businesses she built. Farah is a world-class role model and success story–an award-winning AUS graduate who made it big internationally.
Farah Sultan is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and fashion investor. As the founder of the luxury footwear brand ARNAA and the owner of and buyer for the multi-brand store GRAIN, she is a prolific patron of fashion and philanthropist of new talent. Farah is one of the youngest serving patrons of the British Fashion Council Fashion Trust. In 2017, she won the Arab Women Award for Young Designer of the Year.
Farah holds a Bachelor of Science in Design Management from AUS. After completing the London Business School Executive Leadership Program, she went to Italy to specialize in footwear at Milan’s Ars Sutoria under the apprenticeship of sought-after professors. As ARNAA’s founder, Farah aims to create shoes that are one-of-a-kind style statements of the highest quality and comfort for distinguished women around the world.
11. Zamda George
Life has a way of turning things around and surprising us in so many different ways in our journey to finding ourselves in being who we want while trying to live life to the fullest at the same time.
Some call this journey of figuring out who we will be in the end as finding our destiny; others just put it as fate, but for Ms. Zamda George it’s passion.
12. Ailinda Sawe
13. Asia Idarous Khamsin
14. Manju Msita
Content Courtesy Of Nairobi Fashion Hub