2015 is turning out to be quite a year already for the hugely talented Zimbabwean accessory designer, Pam Samasuwo-Nyawiri, who is now based in London’s fashion capital. She was recently nominated for three top design and fashion awards - the Zimbabwe Achievers Award ''Fashion Designer of the Year’’; the Women4Africa ''Fashion Designer of the Year’’; and the Abury and Harpers Bazaar Design Experience.
All three awards were announced on 9th May 2015, with Pam Samasuwo-Nyawiri scooping two of the three accolades - the Zimbabwe Achievers Award and the Abury and Harpers Bazaar Design Experience. Another talented designer from the Congo took the Women4Africa Award.
Accepting her two prestigious awards at a glittering awards ceremony, Pam said:
“Naturally I am so thrilled. My joy now turns to the amount of things I will be able to do due to the awards. Recognition is always very humbling, and more so when it is from your countrymen or a continental award. When I started my fashion journey three and a half years ago, I had no idea that it would bring me to this place. All I wanted was to create the things that I wish existed. Half way into fashion school, I realised that there was a greater need in the African Fashion Industry. I wanted to not only be an African Designer, but a good designer. I think there is some scrutiny of designers within the African Fashion Industry,who end up in the mainstream. It may seem they are looked upon as sell-outs. I think it is time that as Africans we allow ourselves to come out of the bubble we place ourselves in, putting ourselves aside from the rest of the world. The labels come from us,and we generate a certain way we want to be perceived. I am running with the opportunities, not only for myself, but for others to come.”
LoA spoke to Pam immediately following the announcement of her amazing global design industry award wins to find out what is next on the cards for her. It looks like exciting times ahead!
For the next 4 months I will be travelling. I am not sure yet if it will be North Africa or South America. I will be living with social enterprise communities in the core of their villages, learning new traditional craftsmanship techniques. I will eat what they eat, sleep where they sleep, and learn. I am like a sponge and I am so looking forward to this experience.
I think ethical fashion is the way forward. It is important as designers to question who makes our products and under what conditions. This whole virtuous circle of ''Helping Communities Help Themselves”, is a much needed development area. ''Artisanal'' communities have so much to offer. In the midst of that, we are creating entrepreneurs within communities, who will go and train or employ others. My campaign is centred around this whole idea of raising awareness of hand-crafted products and proving that contemporary craft can look just as high-end and design-led as any other luxury product.”
"Vanhu Vamwe is Shona for 'One people''. I had this idea of creating handbags that were hand-crafted and with a common thread of African inspiration behind them, yet which were also fresh, contemporary and relevant to current world markets."
About the Awards
Zimbabwe Achievers Award
The Zimbabwe Achievers Award is the pinnacle of the celebration of talent, art, business, expression and achievement in the Zimbabwean community throughout a very broad spectrum of genre, born out of a simple vision. The Zimbabwe Achievers Award is a distinctly special awards ceremony seeking to recognise Zimbabweans who have pushed the limits against all odds to raise the Zimbabwean flag high and do both themselves and their fellow countrymen proud. The Zimbabwean Achievers Award has become one of the most important events in the African community.
Women4Africa is focused on celebrating and empowering Africa and its women by supporting and celebrating their role in their communities via conferences, supporting education and awarding prestigious awards, recognitions and special honours on such women identified and nominated by the public.
The ABURY Design Experience
This is the first international Award in search of emerging designers to create an accessory capsule collection using traditional crafts knowledge from different cultures. What the ABURY Design Experience is aiming to achieve is simple, yet very substantial. It aims to preserve more world crafts, present more emerging talented designers to the fashion industry, and ultimately to have a positive and sustainable impact within local communities, and the fashion industry throughout.
ABURY is the first fashion platform that brings together traditional, old world crafts with avant-garde design to create a new luxury style that fosters inter-cultural exchange and preserves world crafts. This exchange of knowledge between the old world and the cutting edge allows for a new context to emerge, leasing crafts a new life and lending design an emotional component which has been missing in recent times. The designer is embedded in a craft culture for roughly three months to learn and share ideas from one another and to create a collection together, bringing the best of heritage knowledge and wisdom to high design and sustainable solutions.
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