Saturday, July 17, 2010


Farai Simoyi was born in London, England, the child of Zimbabwean parents. She lived in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she got her first taste of textiles and fashion, from her aunt’s lingerie company at age five.  Her aunt would give her scraps of fabric, which Farai would sew together by hand to make clothes for both her and her dolls.  And, thus, her passion for fashion was born.Farai is getting ready to rock the runway in NYC in September and was kind to Grant Ciaafrique an interview.

How do you intend women to feel when wearing  Farai clothing?
I want to create emotion in the woman who is buying or wearing FARAI. Think of how good it feels when you are shopping and you find that amazing dress, in your size, it fits perfectly in all the right places, and it's for a great price; and all you can think about is where you're going to wear it to, with what shoes, with what purse, how to do your hair etc...That's all emotion...and that's what I want to create.

Tell me about your last  collection -- What was the design inspiration?
The last collection was called "Cyclone", which comes from the name of the infamous Cyclone Roller Coaster at Coney Island. The year I did the collection was when the City of New York was talking about demolishing all of Coney Island and rebuilding it with luxury hotels, condos, and restaurants which would ultimately push out all of the people that lived there and would be destroying history. Coney Island was a place where the so called freaks, weirdos, & outcasts would go and be free to be who they were with no judgements. And thus the collection Cyclone came about. I wanted to use bold colors, wild prints, and present a look that really stood out to show my support and love for all the people out there who were labeled as out-casts...regardless of what we are labeled as or what we are called there is beauty in us all.

What is your take on the Zimbabwean fashion industry? 
The Zimbabwean Fashion Industry is up and coming and it is such a wonderful thing considering that not every African country has a fashion industry or their own fashion week. I believe that with the continued enthusiasm and more young entrepreneurs starting their own companies in Zimbabwe I know that the Zimbabwean Fashion Industry will boom and will be talked about.

Who is your fashion icon?
Grace Jones. Grace Jones is a fashion icon and style extraordinaire. She pushed the envelope on fashion and she did it so well. It is interesting to see celebrities like Rihanna and Lady Gaga mimicing Grace Jones' style. But they do say "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
Yeah!! Grace Jones will still inspire generations to come . Any  favorite designers?
Bunmi Koko, Gareth Pugh, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Hussein Chalayan

Ciaa: I understand  that you will be showing  Your most recent collection In  New  York in September,Tell me a bit about that .
This year I will be launching FARAI at New York Fashion Week on September 13th at the SKYLIGHT WEST VENUE. I have about 9 weeks left until the show and I get small waves of stress here and there, but it's good stress and I am looking forward to it. 

Financially speaking, how hard is it to turn creativity & passion into a businessTurning Creativity and Passion into a business is a very difficult thing to do. There have been many talented designers that we have never heard of simply because they created beautiful pieces, but lacked in the business aspect. Since my brand is at the beginning stages this is when setting up the business can be most crucial. I am reading a lot about starting a business, doing a lot of research, and also turning to financial advisors as well as lawyers to guide me through this process. A fashion label is about 10% creativity and 90% business.
 Job well done the collection is lovely !! how can the readers purchase your pieces and what are the sizes you carry.
We have every size from   Small to XL and you can order Online  by paying  through paypal. We are working with stockists to get our accessories and clothing into stores.

Within the last year the use of African fabric in international runways has triple if not quadruple what is your take on that ?
As African Designers we have always found the beauty in African prints & African fabrics, but apparently this is the year that international designers are now jumping on the bandwagon. They'll be on the bandwagon for a season or two and then they'll find another ethnic print to copy.  But at the end of the day art is here for everyone, so as long as it used or copied with positivity then by all means. 

What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
Purpose. I believe it is very important to design with a purpose. When you do you are able to create a cohesive line with a story. You can tell when a designer has just thrown ideas into a bag without any thought process, but when there is purpose the designer as well as their customer will be able to feel it.
Do you think African Celebrities should be paying more attention? 
It would be great if more African celebrities paid attention to other African Designers, Musicians, Artists, & Businesses because we pay attention to them. But instead of pin pointing African Celebrities I think that we all need to pay attention to each other as people of the African Diaspora. If we all supported each other more we could have more of a voice and more power in the entertainment & arts industry.

What are some of the trend predictions for the fall season?
Fall 2010 Must haves: Boyfriend Sweater, Cardi Coat, Lace Top or Dress, Walk Short (short cut right above the knee with a wider opening at bottom hem), Cigarette Length Trousers, Winter/Dark Florals

What can we find in your closet ?
Harem Pants, Jumpsuits, Skinny Jeans, Leather Jackets, Floor length cardigans and Light Weight coats, Cardi shawls, Platform Booties, Strappy Sandals, Vintage Pieces, Vintage Accessories.

Job well done the collection is lovely !! how can the readers purchase your pieces and what are the sizes you carry.
We have every size from Small to XL and you can order Online  by paying  through paypal. We are working with stockists to get our accessories and clothing into stores.
On that note, are you already planning another collection?
Yes, from this point on I've packed my bags and I'm on a train with no stops. We are launching our Spring/Summer 2011 in September 2010 and after that we'll be working on Fall 2011.

Any advice For Ciaafrique readers wishing to follow your footsteps? 
DO THE WORK. It looks all glitz and glam from the outside, but starting a fashion label takes a lot of time, care, and heart. You have to want to do the work. I run my company as if it where my baby. I love it, nurture it, & feed it, but you have to be ready for the s*** that comes everyday. 

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