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RuvaAfricWear by Sylvester Ndhlovu

Samples of Collection

Q. When did you first start designing?

A. I started designing as a hobby in my last couple years in High School (2000-2002). Back then it was just designing funny t-shirts and adding some accents to my clothes. I was never the pen and paper kind of designer, I’m more of visual person that envisions the end product.

Q. What made you decide that this was what you wanted to do?

A. I went to college for Business and Economics, so last year when I launched a website that sells African jewelry, art and sculptures, it was a perfect time to get into designing again. I noticed that there was demand for African clothes and decided to start designing my own line that emphasizes on everyday functional clothing with an African flair. I now sell my own RuvaAfricWear clothing line on the website with a few other African clothing from other vendors.

Q. How did your friends and family respond?

A. I still have my fulltime job and 2 kids so my family felt I was not spending as much time with them at first, but they have always supported me.

Q. What inspires you to create?

A. I love African prints especially the Kente cloth, so I’m inspired by the African people and culture. When I put African prints in my designs I want people to feel like they’re wearing part of the African history and heritage. I’m originally from Zimbabwe and I lived in Ghana, so that where I fell in love with the Kente.

Q. What makes a design "African"?

A. The history and connection to Africa, it doesn’t have to be a design with an African/Ankara print to prove that it’s “African.”

Q. How do you think African fashion has changed over the years?

A. African fashion has always been viewed as something you only wear on Sundays, funerals or weddings, but that perception is drastically changing now. African prints are trending worldwide and it’s not just Africans wearing them which makes me very proud. With that said I also feel that African men’s fashion hasn’t been well represented at Fashion shows in general. I design both men and women clothing and most offers I get to showcase my line are for the women collection. I would like to see the industry focus more on African men clothing, so that’s the change I hope to see in the near future.

Q. What type of person would wear your designs?

A. Anyone! Most African designs tend to be very loud and colorful so people feel like they can only wear them to an event. My designs are meant to be functional and to add just a bit of African flair to everyday wear. My goal for the line is to have people wearing African clothing at the gym, at work, church, beach/pool etc.

Q. What are you most proud of about your current collection?

A. The blazers with no doubt. A blazer is something you can just put on to a casual or formal event and these blazers turn heads regardless of the event. I’m also most proud of the blazers because I created something African any man or women can wear regardless of nationality or race.

Q. What is the most import at lesson you've learned since you've been designing clothes?

A. Design clothes that people want to wear. As designers sometimes we focus on esthetics and neglect the functionality of the end product.