Vongai Ruzive is simply and distinctively HER. She is one of those people with captivating smiles.
I don’t know about you, but I sure do believe in the African Child, especially the GIRL CHILD.
Vongai Ruzive is a fashion student at Nottingham Trent University, UK and is currently pursing her dream as a fashion designer. Von as she is fondly called, will be talking us through her decision to starting a fashion brand and the journey so far.
Pam: Finally, I got you on board. For you to be studying Fashion, you must be passionate about it. Why Fashion?
Vongai Ruzive: Yes, I share a great interest in my course and the fashion industry. From a young age I have always had a passion for creating. Shoes from cereal boxes; purses from desolate material, and even baby rompers for my baby siblings. It’s not until I was at GCSE level that I decided I wanted to design and create specifically within the fashion discipline. I feel fulfilled when I know I have created something that empowers the individual and can be worn with pride. I enjoy sending people off with their newly crafted garments to a special occasion which makes me feel that I have fulfilled a purpose!
I feel fulfilled when I know I have created something that empowers the individual and can be worn with pride.
Pam: How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to study Fashion at the university?
Vongai Ruzive: It was not much of a shock to them as they had always known I had a flare for creativity. While my parents are somewhat traditional they have told me to follow my dreams and prove that when pursuing a particular career that is within your destiny, you can do exploits and even make more than those taking the path of traditionally acceptable careers.
You can do exploits.
Pam: Do you think they would have reacted differently if you were at your home country?
Vongai Ruzive: Yes and no. They have been in the UK slightly longer than I have which I believe has made them more open minded. I do also think that being in my home country may have had an impact on their view on this as generally fashion is seen as a low status occupation. It’s just seen as a tailor who plays with fabric while the UK (and a few other places) really embrace the creativity and hard work involved.
Pam: I love your brand name VON RUZ, can you tell us more about the brand and the level of operation you are at presently?
Vongai Ruzive: Thank you! Von Ruz is an emerging brand that I have formed to express my desire for ethical fashion and to manifest God’s touch in my work. All garments are hand crafted and fabric sourced in Britain.
At present, I am pleased to say that Von Ruz is officially legally registered as a UK business! I am also currently working on launching the official website very soon and looking forward to unveiling some more surprises in 2017. A lot is going on behind the scenes so watch this space!
Pam: You mentioned launching your website, congratulations on that milestone. Why did you decide to take that step?
Vongai: Thank you. So I have done quite a few projects which I thought would be great to showcase on my very own platform. I thought it was about time I finally took steps that I had always been anxious to take.
It is not too late to take steps you have been anxious of taking.
Von modelling for Ghabpro
Pam: I am sure you are aware that you are an entrepreneur, what has it been like so far?
Vongai: It has been enjoyable yet challenging. Working for yourself means making decisions and doing quite a lot of the start up procedures alone. So far I have grown to be confident and comfortable with this. The most challenging aspect has been balancing the business with uni; family; internship and Radical Youth. Only through God I’ve been able to do this! I have also described it as enjoyable as I am delighted to take risks and see results.
It may be challenging but it becomes enjoyable when you are delighted in taking risks.
Pam: Have you had opportunities for your works to be featured in magazines or had your outfits modeled at fashion shows? If yes, can you mention a few?
Vongai: As some may know,I have been featured in Vogue for my first ever collection which I created in sixth form. The editors admired the designs; use of material and the fact that I had achieved my own exhibition space at The Heathrow Hilton Hotel. I have also been featured in The Tab Nottingham for having participated in their very first fashion show in association with Oxfam. Other examples of show include Zimbabwe Fashion Week UK which was headlined in newspapers in Zimbabwe (my home country).
Pam: So far, what can you say has been a major highlight for your brand?
Vongai: While the feature in Vogue has been the biggest highlight, achieving a nomination for Young Achiever of the Year for Zimbabwe’s International Women’s Awards has also been an amazing experience. While this was specifically for me as an individual, it was recognition for my work thus, promoting my brand.
Pam: What’s the next milestone for your brand?
Vongai: To officially launch the website and unravel more surprises in 2017!
When I face a big challenge I…
Pray, pray and pray. I’ve developed character for such situations. When circumstances get unpleasant, I just pray and get on with it in the hope that God will help me through. Specifically relating to my business, I have noticed that my stress releases when I just continue progressing through my to-do list. This just reassures me that I’m still contributing towards the bigger picture while not getting moved by temporary situations.
The most courageous thing I have ever done as an entrepreneur is…
When I joined a business programme and pitched my idea in front of a panel of highly recommended professionals which successfully resulted into the birth of my brand. Funnily enough, right at the beginning of that process I had never imagined progressing to the finals!
If I could go back in time to when I started my business I would tell myself…
To not allow anxiety to overtake.
The best advice I have ever been given is…
To not be afraid to invest in my own brand as a manifestation of my faith in it. This is through investing my time as well as financial sacrifices.
My favourite business tool/resource/book/podcast is…
I look to many places for inspiration whether it’s for designs or for general motivation. I am a big fan of Pinterest for visual imagery while I also enjoy reading articles from Insider and a few other online platforms that keep me up to date. I have previously looked at fabric manipulation books for further inspiration on construction.
My favourite quote is…
“If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand” – Steve Harvey
This quote just encourages me to not just leave aspirations at the back of my mind but to actually work towards them & have faith!
Pam: Lastly, what’s your desired change for the African Girl Child?
Vongai Ruzive: If I could, I would tell every young African female that she should avoid conforming to the rest of the world and embrace her God-given gifts! I would add that she has the ability to spread her wings as long as she develops her confidence and character!
Dear Sister, no need to conform to the rest of the world. All you need do is embrace your God given gifts. I wish I knew this earlier, I wouldn’t have wasted time comparing myself with others.
Dear Sister, remember you have all it takes to spread your wings and fly to the ends of the world. Just develop your confidence and character and remember God has already validated you.
You need to listen to this podcast👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽 https://soundcloud.com/pamsotuphotography/already-validated
BE EMPOWERED | BE ENCOURAGED | BE INSPIRED | STAY MOTIVATED