Back to Index
to Foot': Fashion statements by African women
December 12, 2006
'On the head…
around the neck… on the wrists… on the fingers… around the hips…
around the ankles… on the feet… and on the back'. 'Head to Foot'
was outstanding collaborative show by some of Zimbabwe's seasoned
visual artists' and professional fashion designers that ended at
the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe on the second of November 2006.
have been made by African women for hundreds of years. Adornment
has been part of the life of African women over the African continent.
Adornments worn by African woman have had cultural and ritualistic
differences and meanings but have been part of the way in which
a woman has expressed herself, declared herself and presented her
self to her world. The culturally significant African woman is-she
who sees her presentation of herself engaging cultural symbols,
beads jewellery, her hair done in a certain way, her clothes made
from a certain material and suiting her body in a certain way. From
'Head to Foot' the African woman has been culturally presentable
through what she wears on her head, around her neck, on her wrists,
on her fingers, around her hips, around her ankles on her feet and
on her back".
culture becomes more cosmopolite and there are inroads of this and
inroads of that so that there 1S little difference between the way
African woman present themselves to women elsewhere in the world.
On the back there can be Dubai, on the wrists and fingers China,
on the feet Malaysia, around the hips, UK. But there is also an
'updating' of the African way of a woman presenting herself, new
uses of beads, the colours of Africa, the 'shape of Africa' as identified
in dress and today' adornment, the accessory. The accessory today
can 'make' the woman. Old shoes, old belts, recherché hats
do not a woman make. The latest in bags from Germany, the softest
of leather with studs and metal and the odd bit of silver can redeem
the oldest of dresses, the clumpiest of shoes.
So the National
Gallery of Zimbabwe made a 'call' to young people who abide by how
they look, what they wear for their effect on people, their standing
in society., how they are perceived and seen by presenting Head
to Foot. And in presenting head to Foot the National Gallery showcased
the work of some of the best designers today in Zimbabwe. There
were the smooth elegant 'international scene' leather bags, waistcoats
and jerkins of Mashingadzi Gomo; there were the elegant cleaving
clothes of Hope Masike, worn with outré accessories, and
by models with heads topped with oriental turbans. There were the
'close to nature' accessories of Tarisai Gweje, bags suitably displayed
on sand and belts hanging from a fence.
was so 'staged' so that each designer's work had its own environment,
atmosphere and feeling. The Gallery anticipated that the exhibition
has provided meeting grounds for the ideas of the visual artists,
designers represented and other young designers, that joint projects
might result, workshops be planned and other integral events take
include: Hope Masike, Tarisai Gweje, Sabina Musvati, Masimba Hwati,
Mashingadze Gomo, Emily Mashanda, Tapfumanei Musunza.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.