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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Kamanga Wear Love Affair: Proudly Zambian Fashion More Than Just Style Part I

Kabungo Mumbi- Habeenzu
in signature Kamanga Wear
dress that you can Kamanga
(tie) in many different ways.
That jumpsuit ended up being
my first ever purchase!
It is well documented on this blog that I love Kamanga Wear. My obsession with them started in 2012 out of desperation. I had to help out my Aunt, Miss Zambia 2005, for a Japanese Reality TV show starring her friend Miss Universe 1st Princess 2006. They were convenient and coincidentally, after I introduced myself and what I needed, designers Christina and Donna informed me their Ready-to-Wear brand is very popular with Japanese tourists and residents in Zambia! Kabungo was pregnant and their signature dress was easily able to accommodate her bump, as it can be tied 8 different ways and is a billowy dress that can be cinched in, or not, depending on how you choose to style it. A great last minute solution, as I had been given no time to deliver what was required. We then took the crew and her friend to shop there after touring Lusaka as part of the shoot.  I was Olivia Pope media world style, before she even existed lol.

Kurara Chibana trying on her
gift from Kabungo after a day's
work for Japanese Reality TV
After that, I had to come to my own aid, as I wanted to wear chitenge (aka ankara, kitenge, African print) and proudly Zambian designs when I got my gig as a TV presenter late 2012.  Their clothes fit my body type well, and required little or no alteration, so it was easy to pop in every 2 weeks or so to pick up new pieces and to be fitted to satisfy my wardrobe requirements, working around my crazy shooting schedule around the country.  Their clothes are such versatile, ready-to-wear items that can reflect the whimsical, playful side of me, as well as the serious, baller too.  Thus began our love affair that continues on.

I have the most extensive collection of their clothing according to Donna and Christina.  The only person who can rival me is Mwanabibi Sikamo, Uprooting the Pumpkin blogger and ZedHair co-founder.  We literally have to check in to see if we are planning to wear the same outfit when we know our paths will cross! Recently we coordinated when we were both appearing on TV together as guests on ZNBC's Press Club Live with Chilufya Mwelwa.  We both rocked Kamanga but luckily there was no who wore it better, Sex in the City II Miley-Samantha moment ...

A photo posted by Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops.c) on

I also own the peplum top Mwanabibi is wearing but in a different print as Kamanga does not use the same print over and over for the same design and within sizes, so each piece is almost unique as they spread material across their collections. You see why we have to check in! I was styled by Mafashio for this TV appearance.

Since last October I have been officially Brand Ambassador for them.  I am so honoured to represent such a quality, affordable, quirky, stylish, edgy, iconoclastic yet classic brand, that uses primarily chitenge, but now also other African and global fabrics, in innovative, vanguard and creative ways. 

I have travelled to Europe and America with the film this year, and of course, Kamanga has come with me. I have dressed for success professionally and have been complimented wherever I go when I have worn something of theirs.  Whether I work hard or play hard, any day can be a #KamangaWearDay and that is why I I love them!

What started off as a way to reconnect with my roots in a way that reflects my global sensibilities, ended up being a way to proudly fly the Zambian flag as a lifelong peripatetic. Thank you for all your comments on social media about my style of dress.  I am honoured to have inadvertently filled you with pride as I represent worldwide.  Happy to continue to show just how cool and creative we are, that we too have much to offer in many spheres such as fashion. Time people got educated. Yes Africans wear clothes and they are stylish too he he he...

Here are some of the looks I have rocked this year. Whether I am representing the film, making a public appearance, or just living life, Kamanga Wear has the ab fab garb to accommodate my lifestyle. Styling is in chronological order.  At this point I am styling myself exclusively.

Custom cigarette tuxedo trousers in African brocade
L-R: Chosa Mweemba, me, e18hteam co-producer Juan Rodriguez-Briso
Photo Credit George Mutale

This was my outfit for the premiere of e18hteam at Fresh View Cinemas, October 2014. My copper jewelry is from Free Zambia, kente bow tie from Ghana (though purchased in Zambia) and my clutch is by Ted Baker.

This photo is an outtake from the Extraordinary Project
Photo Credit Gareth Bentley

This photo was created by projecting e18hteam and smoke to create a rainbow effect in the bush in Chongwe, Zambia at night. The peacock effect is with a palm frond I brought with me from my garden, as I was told to bring something to add to my diminutive frame, so I didn't look like a midget and subsequently not have a strong presence in the photo!

I layered with a black long sleeved stretch cotton shirt, as it was not quite Spring in Spain. Versatility to wear styles in different ways is important so things look fresh.  I am taking a leaf out of The Duchess of Cambridge's book - have much less money than she has so definitely have to repeat, mix and match my wardrobe pieces. That way, when I make public appearances, I am always sporting a new look.

L-R Chitundu Chanda Zambeef Brand Marketing Manager,
Zambeef Board Chairman Dr. Jacob Mwanza, me Zambeef Brand Ambassador,
Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officer Dr. Carl Irwin,
French Ambassador to Zambia H.E. Emmanuel Cohet
This dress showcases Kamanga's timeless style.  They are great at making classic dresses that are interesting in an edgy, whimsical and/ or quirky way due to their careful selection of prints to reflect these qualities. This was at the press conference announcing the unprecedented sponsorship Zambeef provided to cover e18hteam's archival footage rights and my travel to film festivals.

 I have been working with the wonderful stylists, sisters Kii and Sekayi Fundafunda, of Mafashio since May 2015. All looks have either been put together by these lovely ladies, or I have consulted with them after picking out my outfit.

Custom variation of Kamanga Wear dress made strapless and out of
raw silk paired with a clutch from Chitenge Life and
shoes from Mangishi Love.

Kamanga have recently added jackets to their range and I am taking advantage. I have a lot of basic
monocoloured items that I can mix and match.  I can instantly up the ante with my go-to style, my uniform if you will: leggings/ jeggings and a bodycon top can instantly be more interesting by throwing on a print layer.

L-R me, Namwali Serpell 2015 Caine Prize winner at Audience with
Namwali Serpell event at Foxdale Court hosted by Lusaka Book Club.
Photo Credit PR Girl
I love colour and bold prints. Went all out with high waisted maxi skirt and picked up orange and yellow from the chitenge with my top and leather bag purchased during my trip to Ghana for New Years in 2014.

A photo posted by SVAFF 2015 (@svaff2015) on

Both the dress and the necklace are from Kamanga Wear.

For even more fashion, information about my journey this year and to keep up-to-date with everything going on with the film as well my other projects in Zambia and globally, follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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