Ngugi Vere is one of the fast growing African brands to look out for. With A list clients and a giving back spirit, nothing will stop this Zimbabwean born designer. We spoke to him about his passion for fashion and love for Africa and here’s what he had to say.
Q: To those who are not familiar with you, who is Ngugi Vere?
A: Ngugi Vere aka Velly is a young Zimbabwean Creative Entrepreneur with a creative flair in creative directing, styling, grooming and designing. He is also a fashion empowerment speaker and fashion host.
Q: Do you remember when your passion for fashion started?
A: My passion for fashion started when I was 5yrs old when I used to go shopping with my late mum every weekend and I would choose clothes for myself and dress myself.
Q: Is your fashion career the reason behind your move to SA?
A: No, I moved to SA to study Informatics but during that time is when I discovered what God wanted me to do. And SA was my starting and nurturing ground for my talent.
Q. What made you decide this is what you wanted to do with the rest of your life and was it a difficult decision to make?
A: Well, I listen to God so when He confirms what my purpose is then it’s never a difficult decision. The only difficult part was getting my family understand that I was taking fashion as a career especially without even studying it
Q: Who in the fashion industry inspires you the most and why?
A: Tom Ford and Diddy are constant inspiration for their business acumen in the industry. Learning from how Tom Ford almost gave up on is career for acting and then coming back and be a house hold name in the fashion industry. Diddy is one man I know who is a King at what he is not good at. He is the richest rapper but he is not even a good rapper, he is doing so well with Sean John but he ain’t no designer. His business sense and creativity is something that I’m learning from him everyday.
Q: You focus on African prints, why is staying to your roots important in your designs?
A: Well, African print gives me identity and I’m proudly African. Part of my purpose is to take Africa to the world and focusing on my identity and perfecting it is what I hold with authenticity for the world to move. Every one is speaking Shona Accra and Be Bold and that’s exactly what the world to recognize and also know Africa fashion through my brands.
Q: What do you wish to achieve with your designs?
A: To change the fashion industry in Zim then Africa to the world. I’m all about creativity and innovation to break fashion boundaries through unique, Bold and authentic designs. At the same time empower and inspire others to produce global products with an unique identity.
Q: Where do you think Zimbabwean Fashion Industry is compared to the rest of the continent?
A: Well to be honest, Zim is lagging behind but it’s becoming accessible of late. I see people willing to learn from other people and cultures. Zim fashioners need to come together and create a solid fashion council. Let people work together on a common goal to promote local designers for local retail and global exports.
Q: Can people find your designs in Zimbabwe, do you have any plans that will benefit and inspire young Zimbabweans back home?
A: You can find Shona Accra lifestyle in Jan Jam stores and Cindy’s fashion corner in Harare.
Yes, I got a couple of plans to do in Zim but I’m just looking for partners and sponsors to join me in my skills development program for fashion creatives, fashion style workshops and fashion talks.
Q: Who are some of the famous faces you call clients?
A: I dress a couple of big and powerful CEOs and MDs in SA and also a couple of celebrities such as; Tresor, Lungi Naidoo, AKA, Khuli Chana, Bongiwe Silinda, Bongi Mvuyana, Vault Cosmetic, Zodwa Mkandla etc.
Q:What inspired you to start your charity Islanda Sothando Outreach?
A: Besides fashion, I’m also passionate about people and charity work. I enjoy being hand of God and help people. I started ISO cause I wanted to help people who God sends to me.
Q: Tell us more about your role in the Soweto Fashion Week
A: I’m the Creative Director & Producer of Soweto fashion week. I’m basically the guy behind the production success of SFW. In the guy who puts the show together from models, designers, themes, concepts, setup, choreography etc. And I also showcase as a designer. Hectic roles I play but I enjoy the pressure and challenges.
Q:How do you juggle designing, your charity organization, being an actor and a model?
A: I live by purpose and for a purpose, and everything I do its because of Jesus. He is the one who gives me the strength and wisdom to do all that. I’m stress-free, I just enjoy all my gifts.
Q: Congrats on your Zim Achievers SA nomination, what does the recognition mean to you?
A: The nominations is empowering in different levels. To me, it’s youth empowerment, it’s recognition that pushes you to do more. It means some people appreciate my work and that alone is a blessing. So the nominations say Ngugi keep on hustling, keep on unlocking levels, keep doing best and that’s what I’m doing.
Q: What advice would you give to young designers who might not be sure if they should pursue it in Zim?
A: Fashion is a gift but it takes more than just passion to make it. One needs ; determination, Faith and hard work, above all you need Jesus. He is the only source who can give you unique ideas and designs. And remember at all times that it’s not just an art, it’s a business and should be treated as such. Be professional, package your product well, market Yourself well, learn to collabo, give yourself an added advantage or a unique selling proposition.
Q: What advice do you have for all the Zimbabwean youth?
A: The Zim youth who want to be successful need to figure this out first :
a) Who are you?
b) Why are you here?
c) What’s your purpose?
d) How do I get there?
These questions help you discover your passion and purpose. And also how to go about it. You can only be great if you do what you love and what you were born to do. And above all, Be Bold and Be Yourself.
Q: Where can people reach you?
A: Fb: Ngugi Vere
IG: @ngugivere / shonaaccra