Vibrant national fabric displays at ZITF

National dress on display at Mutare Polytechnic College stand at ZITF yesterday

THIS year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) has seen a surge in exhibitors showcasing the national dress fabric. The trend reflects a growing national embrace of the nation’s unique symbol of identity.

A number of exhibitors were seen wearing outfits made from the fabric.University students are also at the forefront of promoting the national fabric. They designed a variety of outfits, with a particularly striking example being a bridal gown crafted by Mutare Polytechnic, specifically designed for traditional weddings.

Their stand showcases further innovative uses; pillowcases and bed sheets made from the national fabric to promote domestic tourism, while locally produced wines made from indigenous fruits like sweet berries highlight the potential for gastronomic tourism.

Inmates, Melody Ndlovu (left) and Nompumelelo Vusa (right), from Mlondolozi prison show the national dress on display at ZITF yesterday

Mutare Polytechnic’s Principal, Poniso Watema, is a vocal advocate for the national dress fabric.
“We are saying this is our national fabric and it is part of our heritage and it being our heritage now we are showcasing how we can utilise our national fabric.

These days we now have trending roora/lobola events and we can use the national fabric for the bride and her squad. The groom can also have an outfit which is also designed using the national fabric.

“Instead of people buying Western fabric, we are saying let us use our own fabric. We also promote domestic tourism by using the national fabric to design pillowcases and bed sheets which can be used in hotels and lodges for our visitors to know about our national fabric,” she said.

The Zanu-PF stand stood out for its dazzling display of national fabric designs. Fashion designers there couldn’t be happier, reporting brisk sales with their creations flying off the shelves like hotcakes.
Designer Rose Vambe shared her experience with the national fabric’s popularity.

“I am into African and ethnic wear and I have lots of finished products made from the national dress fabric. I am happy that we now have a fabric that identifies us as Zimbabweans, now even if we go outside the country we are easily identified. Before we used to copy colours from the national flag and incorporate them in our designs.

Skills Developer and decorator Dominica Muringi in national dress at Amai’s Kitchen at ZITF yesterday

“I am happy to say that this was my hot cake this year as everyone who is visiting my stand is grabbing the designs. What makes me happier is that people are now ready to identify with their print, Zimbabweans are now proud to be identified with their fabric,” said Rose.

The vibrant Amai’s Kitchen also offers a colourful corner showcasing the national fabric for purchase. The stall’s decor itself is a testament to its versatility, adorned with various fabric colours. Not to be outdone, the Zimbabwe Correctional Services showcased beautiful designs for both men and women, all sewn by inmates using the national dress fabric.

Chronicle

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