Former Phats And Small singer Ben Ofoedu to host Zimbabwe Fashion Showcase

LONDON: Musician and TV presenter, Ben Ofoedu will host this year’s fashion showcase in London alongside Tidi Kwidini, organisers have announced.

The show, titled #ThisIsAfrica is scheduled for 28 September and will take place at Tramp, one of the most exclusive private clubs in the capital.

Chiedza Ziyambe, CEO of Zimbabwe Fashion Showcase(ZFS) said:  “ZFS has always been about giving people an exclusive and first-class experience and this year is no different.

We are excited about hosting the event at the prestigious venue, Tramp, which has such a rich history. It’s great to be a part of their 50th year, and we’re so thrilled that Ben is on board for the celebration.”

Ben, who has had a successful career as a musician, joined the band Benz in 1993 and later became the lead singer of Phats & Small – who are known for their hit single ‘Turn Around’.

In 2000 he released a solo single ‘Your Love’ and in 2001 joined the band REDhill with former Boyzone member Shayne Lynch.

Ben has appeared on a number of TV programmes with partner and journalist Vanessa Feltz, including Celebrity Wife Swap in 2007.

They also raised £150,000 for a cancer charity when they appeared on celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Five emerging African designers

The high-class fashion show will feature five emerging African designers and over 40 designs. This year’s showcasers include Isabella Sitsha, Millicent Poku and Sandra Chinogurei.

“Over the years ZFS has grown and we’ve seen designers who have used this platform excel and go international. More so, it is a platform that continues to celebrate and highlight upcoming African designers because they are the future.

The market has untapped potential, and with the talent we have in the sector, African fashion can evolve and hold a real global presence,” added Chiedza.

Earlier in the month, two new showcasers were added to the list, with Chipo Musa of Mimi Florence Designs and Gveny founder and creative director Samuel Kaiser announced.

Samuel, who used to drive London’s famous amphibious duck boats before he swapped the tourist trade for fashion design, graduated from University of East London in 2016.

In January 2019, Samuel lost his entire collection worth approximately £500,000 in a suspected arson attack, weeks before he was due to showcase his work for a second time at Paris Fashion Week when a fire broke out at a self-storage depot in Croydon.

The avant-garde collection had featured in Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 a few months before and had received rave reviews. He was due to showcase again in March but had to cancel.

Crochet designer, Chipo rounds off the list of designers who will showcase this weekend. Having crocheted for approximately 18 years for friends and family she established Mimi Florence Designs two years ago, naming it after her mother.

Under the brand, Chipo has created bespoke bikinis, crop tops, handbags, flip flops, dresses, skirts and tops, including a winter collection that has a range of snoods, scarves and shawls.

Meanwhile, organisers have announced that London based saxophonist, Jermaine Jones will perform at the event. The multi-talented musician is well known for his high energy performances and is due to release his EP soon. Resident DJ, Welly Tee will return for a second year and will be on rotation throughout the afternoon.

Silent auction for charity

ZFS will be hosting their first ever silent auction, with proceeds going to the Domestic Violence Intervention Project – DVIP.

The charity has been supporting women and children for 25 years and ensuring those affected by domestic violence are able to seek help and are kept safe. The organisation has services across London and have a cross-functional team who help to reduce the harm that abuse causes women, children and families.

Some of the auction items include six medical-grade skin peels sponsored by Dr Mary Thompson. Mimi’s Organics have sponsored a range of skin care products. Aloe4Life have provided a hamper of aloe vera products, while Golden Image Spa will give the lucky winner a comprehensive treatment voucher. Chiedza Ziyambe has also put forward a gift hamper.

The prestigious club Tramp in Mayfair, London, has for half a century been one of the most exclusive private clubs in the world and has hosted artists such as Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Drake, Rihanna and supermodel Naomi Campbell, among others. Set behind a discreet entrance on Jermyn Street, the venue offers a unique, magical and timeless enclave to dine, entertain and party.

This year’s event sponsors and partners include Molah Media, Loma Media, Peter Cripps Photography, Tichpfupsphotography, Retreat 2 Relax and Bespoke Petals & Events.

First held in 2015, ZFS highlights emerging African designers in the UK, mainly from Zimbabwe. Prominent public figures and designers such as New York based Farai Simoyi and the Mayor of Birmingham have previously attended the annual fashion show.