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Maison Du Style, Dominating Zimbabwe's Fashion Scene

This past couple of weeks I have had a few chats with a couple of Zimbabwean designers, and it only made sense for me to include the Creative Director of the fashion brand Maison Du Style (MDS), which means house of style. Her fashion brand name derives many influences of European culture, mostly from the French, and therefore she found it convenient to call it that. Also calling it the house of style would allow it to morph into anything it pleased in the future, be it shoes, jewelry or handbags.

For those of you who still need an introduction to her, her name is Lorraine Taylor Mugariri, and at 24-years-old she has already made her mark in the Zimbabwean fashion industry. I say this, because once you see or are in an MDS piece, it’s not hard to spot. MDS has been able to grow due to social media advertising, and the help of global Zimbabwean clients who use the most powerful marketing tool, which being word of mouth. The cool thing about MDS is that it's so evident to see how it lures in clients because of the signature style, that is unlike any other.

I asked Lorraine to share with me what goes on in a creative's mind, especially when it comes to sitting down and creating these masterpieces from scratch. She intently answered by saying; “To become something you want to be, don't follow anyone else's footsteps, do things your way, and learn and grow from those experiences. I for example never actually went to school to study fashion - but instead, it was always a passion. I was willing to make my mistakes and learn from them, and until now I still make mistakes. I chose a path that I believed in and stuck to it. I feel that's what anyone should do. If the world listened to people all the time we wouldn't have Facebook nor would we have Oprah.”

It was interesting to catch her thoughts, and understand what it takes for someone like herself to have humble beginnings and move to owning a shop in an upmarket area of the city, especially at a mere 24-years-old. I had to understand whether or not this was something Lorraine had been planning since she was young. She then wittily answered; “I never realized passion was my passion. I grew up understanding that it was what I was meant to do. I used to cut up my clothes at such a young age - and at times when we were asked in school what we wanted to do, some would shout out, Doctor, Teacher, Policeman!”

She then paused briefly, as though to take a moment to reminisce on those times, before continuing with; “I for one never used to know how to answer that question because I didn't know what the title for someone who makes clothes was. Imagine that!”

When I heard that, I was flabbergasted, because who would have thought that someone who didn’t know the title of someone who makes clothes would end up being the go-to-girl for making clothes for numerous models at fashion shows, and being called to be a judge for events hosted by Zimbabwe’s elite. A real display of how pushing passion is key.

Of course, I had to ask Lorraine her three tips on how to dress for your body type, and here they are;

  1. Find what you love most about you – whether it is your legs, hips or waist. Then make sure always to wear something that flatters that part of your body first.
  2. Find colors that compliment your skin tone, don't follow trends – do you.
  3. Understand your body shape.

She ended off with some sound advice too; “I advise the readers to be as supportive as they can to a person with a dream or a goal, hoping that all the readers have dreams. A lot of people struggle with getting started on their goals, but I'd like to say the minute you start you are already halfway there.”

Little scoop: Maison Du Style is a custom dress making designer brand based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Making formal clothes, evening gowns, prom dresses, party and cocktail dresses, bridesmaids and have recently started on wedding gowns. You can now press an order for their garments online here: Maison Du Style.

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