Tlale urges lo­cal de­sign­ers to go to fash­ion schools

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Entertainment - Robert Mukondiwa

PERCHED on a com­fort­able stool and with a group of awestruck fash­ion de­sign dream­ers be­fore him, the god of fash­ion in Africa, King David Tlale, last week de­liv­ered one of the frank­est ser­mons the fash­ion be­liev­ers have prob­a­bly ever had in Zim­babwe.

Frank, hon­est, can­did, lu­cid and bru­tal like any god can be, David took the as­pi­rants down his own story.

From be­ing a small name dream­ing about the big stages to the im­mor­tal that he has be­come, David Tlale has the ul­ti­mate story of the African dream come true.

Af­ter all, this is the man who has trans­formed the way Africa dresses and the man­ner in which the world sees the art of de­sign and di­vine craft of fash­ion tool­ing ac­cord­ing to Africa’s abil­i­ties and prom­ise.

A David Tlale piece is a heavenly piece of fash­ion re­al­ity. You can even be for­given for think­ing that the divin­ity of his mind and fin­gers com­bined can make a gar­ment which when placed on a man­nequin, trans­forms the life­less struc­ture and gives it a pulse, makes it break into a sweat, de­velop a heart­beat and the breath of life.

And now Tlale, cour­tesy of Edgars, was in Harare to hand down ideas on how to trans­form or­di­nary ma­te­rial into a cre­ation that makes the eyes of any on­looker or­gasm! And he spilled the beans. “Don’t say I can put colours to­gether so I’m a fash­ion de­signer. Honey, that doesn’t make you a de­signer! Go to fash­ion school!” he im­plored with­out minc­ing his words.

In a coun­try where any­one can pick up a nee­dle and thread, bran­dish them dan­ger­ously and threaten to make a gar­ment un­der the guise of be­ing a fash­ion de­signer, it was about time Zim­babwe’s “sew­ers” were called out and told that it took more than a sewing kit and a loud mouth to be con­sid­ered a fash­ion de­signer.

Tlale, in spite of his ob­scene in­ner tal­ent and de­sign panache, spent years in fash­ion school, the last three of which were spent with him oc­cu­py­ing the apex of his fac­ulty as the best stu­dent. But there is no short cut to the top, so fash­ion school ba­sic train­ing is a must have, he in­sists.

In be­tween ogling at his gar­ment, which both con­firmed that black will al­ways be the new black, as well as be daz­zled of the num­bers on his piece and loudly quiet ac­ces­sories and drool­ing at his ideas, the rook­ies and as­pi­rants in the room def­i­nitely left with a lot of lessons.

And there were times when one would al­most swear that this god of fash­ion would soon be deep in trans­fig­u­ra­tion and rise slowly off to fash­ion heaven in a cloud of white smoke. Thank­fully for his ea­ger learn­ers he did not. “Be­cause we want to com­pete glob­ally, let’s com­pete with global stan­dards. Let’s re­spect the craft then the world will take us se­ri­ously,” said Tlale.

When all was said and done, his pro­tégés, par­tic­u­larly the win­ners of an Edgars in­tern­ship pro­gramme Heather Mad­labuta, Kuda Chi­hungwa and Sekai San­damu from the de­sign­ers’ ini­tia­tive, were bet­ter po­si­tioned to take on the cut throat world of fash­ion de­sign.—Twit­ter @ zim­rob­bie

Sun­gura Mas­ters DJ Kead Wikead Ez­im­nyama Arts DJ Sweeto

David Tlale with Tsitsi Mu­tendi in Harare

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