Sinikiwe Moyo (centre) always knew she wanted work in fashion. From crafting her doll’s outfits as a child back in her native Zimbabwe to launching her own label – Niki Moyo in London; Sinikiwe has always chased her dream and remained true to her vision. In this interview on International Women’s Day, Sinikiwe reflects on her journey and encourages women around the world to stay true to their style and project their inner beauty.
Congratulations for participating at the recently held London Fashion Week. I believe this is your second time after launching your first collection last year. Tell us what it was like and more about the designs.
It was such an immersive experience being around my fashion tribe. I felt so inspired and motivated watching the Autumn/Winter 19 Designer presentations, mingling and shopping from Designer Showrooms. I had great fun exploring the space filled with inspiring vibes and amazing experiences networking with some of the key fashion industry experts.
You are fast gathering a name as the next best thing in fashion. How would you describe your style?
Niki Moyo is a luxury couture brand that offers unique affordable timeless pieces designed to express femininity, showcase women’s individuality and command a room.
Where else have you exhibited? What has been your most exciting project to work on so far?
It all started with showcasing my graduate collection and winning the Fashion4Africa Designer of the Year 2017 Competition. The prize I won from Fashion4Africa was sponsored by Fashions Finest to showcase my Autumn/Winter 18 collection on their platform during London Fashion Week.
Fashions Finest UK, the second largest event for UK and International Designers during London Fashion Week has promoted and empowered underprivileged, emerging designers like myself by helping them breakthrough into the challenging and competitive UK fashion industry.
I have also showcased at Flame International Fashion and Art Festival 2018 where I won two sponsored prizes Best Pret-a-Porter Collection and Best Creative Collection, to showcase at Odessa Fashion Week and a feature in an International magazine.
The most exciting project I have worked on so far has been the amazing privilege to design and showcase my very first NIKI MOYO AUTUMN/WINTER 18 Bird Of Paradise Collection to a larger international platform At Fashions Finest during London Fashion Week.
Did you always know you wanted to be a fashion designer? How did you get started?
I initially showed a flair for fashion and design when helping to create new outfits for my dolls helped by my mother, who was a great lover and supporter of the regional Arts and Craft at the time.
As a teenager, making my own clothes was a natural progression and my design flair was confirmed when I raced ahead of other pupils at school when studying craft work and Fashion and Fabrics.
Deconstructing clothes to establish patterns and understand the various cuts for garments, swiftly confirmed a passion for fashion, heavily influenced by the culture of the region, combined with the exciting prospect of new global fashion trends.
This drive and motivation led me to initially securing a professional National Certificate in Clothing Technology. This led to a place at the Bulawayo Polytechnic School of Art & Design, where I graduated from a National Diploma in Fashion Design and authored my first formal “Portfolio”.
I went onto secure an internship at the respected Edgars Group, the regional clothing market leader, who supply quality adult and children’s merchandise across Zimbabwe. Fully leveraging the relationships built at Edgars, I was offered a permanent role with them, initially as a Fashion Designer, and gaining promotion to Product Coordinator on the back of the commercial success delivered for the brand and its sub-brands.
I took a decision to relocate to the UK to follow my dream of a global fashion career where I have studied for a UK based Fashion Degree. This has resulted in my real talent coming through, firstly when I achieved a 1st Class Degree in Fashion Design with Business, followed by winning multiple awards.
You are also the Fashion4Africa Ambassador. What does the role entail and what are the aims of the organisation?
Being Fashion4Africa Ambassador means I can advocate for the organisation, influence other designers, leverage relations and raise awareness of what the brand stands for considering my personal experience. I have seen the benefits of getting involved.
Fashion4Africa is an organisation that works with emerging Fashion Designers and aspiring Models of African origin, with a goal to train, mentor, support, share, and develop creative skills within the African Diaspora and talent in Africa. The winners gain business mentoring with industry experts. It is for graduates or non graduates identified as needing the support and development to enhance their creative ability and further their knowledge, skills and performance. This all prepares them to be ready and fit for business.
Who are your fashion icons?
Italian Designer Roberto Capucci for his artistic and extravagant signature. The legendary Coco Chanel for staying true to her values and not allowing her creativity to be dictated by Fashion trends. She was an innovator and trendsetter; The Little Black Dress and her classic signature jacket which still have a very strong influence years later. Kate Spade for building an empire of adorable handbags. Her accessories are a game changer: They are beautiful, playful, adorable. They are made to stand out, not to fit in. They are cheerful, bold, and fabulous in a way I haven’t known fashion could be.
Are there any particular celebrities for whom you would like to design?
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Beyoncé, Naomi Campbell, Danai Gurira and Former First Lady Michelle Obama. I admire how their styles mirrors their personalities and create a harmonious, beautiful image of individuality. As a designer, it is important that I dress a woman according to her true nature. In other words, as a woman, you’re what you wear, a dress defines the true nature of a woman. Hence one of my favourite designers summed it up. “Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.” Coco Chanel.
What are your plans for 2019?
I am working on a collection to be showcased During Spring/Summer 20 International Fashion Weeks that will help women tackle and balance the issues around the subjects of sustainability, diversity and inclusion for a better feeling in regards to women’s body image.
What is your message for women around the world on International Women’s Day?
As women, let us all play a critical role in helping to truly forge the agenda of creating a more balanced fashion world and make a better difference for women of the current and girls of the future as we all work together for a #BalanceForBetter campaign.
One of Niki Moyo’s ethos (REVEAL YOUR TRUE NATURE) is to encourage and dress women to bring out the true reflection of their inner and individual beauty. This is interpreted as, true beauty is on the inside. What’s underneath is your true style, a true reflection of your individuality. As a woman, proudly celebrate that beauty by wearing the best styles that reveal and showcase your unique and true nature. Keep true to yourself through your own personal style. Knowing your inner self makes you happy and confident in who you are as true style is self acceptance, knowing who you are and what makes you feel fulfilled.
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