Over 30 designers from all over Tanzania graced this year’s edition of the Stara Fashion Week and exhibition. It was the seventh edition of the event held at the Flavor Café, Masaki in Dar es Salaam recently. This year’s theme was Uhuru (freedom), and designers had carte blanche.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were no foreign designers taking part this year. There were 20 designers who showcased women’s wear on day one, while 10 designers showcased men’s clothes on day two.
According to Asmah Makau, the Stara Fashion Week co-founder, there were fewer designers because of Covid, but the event sought “to empower designers’ creativity.”
The event also adhered to strict Covid protocols.
The exhibition this year featured painting, cooking and henna body art; stage performances, and designer booths to sell post-runway products. The best exhibitor award went to Ayman Paper Flower.
The best male designer of the year went to Pichichi Turbans, Said Ndee, who showcased pieces made of batik.
He said that he decided to use batik to support the women who make it.
“This year's theme gave us freedom of designing anything that we want but without giving out the meaning of Stara,” he said.
The best female designer of the year went to Susucollexion by Subira Wahure who presented a bridal collection, titled "fairy-tale", which featured nine bridal dresses that she showcased on the runway.
She also had the full bridal party wear for kitchen party dresses, send-off dress, Islamic wedding dress and church wedding dress as well as dinner dresses.
Wahure chose to have regular and plus size models because she targets brides of all body types.
One of the most exciting entries was by Lukundane Merinyo of Africa Sana, whose clothes were designed around the theme of modern Masai Moran traditional attire.
Merinyo said the theme inspired her creations of modern couture inspired by traditional Masai culture, of which she belongs.
“I was inspired by the internet buzz when Diamond Platinumz dressed up as a Masai warrior during the BET Awards ceremony. The wide and varied criticism and acclaim for Diamond's stint inspired me to set a suggestive direction for modern youth in search of cultural tone in their couture dressing,” she said.
This year's show also allowed attendees to shop directly from the designer.
Stara co-founder Makau said previous Stara Fashion designers have been showcasing their designs in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Amsterdam, Dubai, and Italy Milano.
Makau said they picked the theme of Uhuru to give designers freedom to bring awareness on their identity and culture.