She made history by becoming the first full – figured model to grace a local fashion runway at the recently held Zimbabwe Fashion Week 2014, and now, RuTendo DeNise is set to do it all again at Zambia Fashion Week in Lusaka this weekend. A woman of many talents, the former Head of Public Relations for Zimbabwe Fashion Week and Spoken Word Artist is scheduled to open the collection for celebrated Tanzanian fashion designer Mustafa Hassanali. Defining herself as Africa’s Towering Goddess, RuTendo debuted at Zimbabwe Fashion Week 2014 by being selected to be the closing model for Durban based TZM Fashion House. TZM Head designer Thembani Mubochwa describes the Towering Goddess as “a real representation of not only the diversity of our clothing brand, but that of the beautiful women of Zimbabwe and Africa. We are very honoured to have worked with her and believe she is going to inspire a lot of women in Zimbabwe and all over the world. The confidence she exudes and the graceful manner in which she carries herself resonated perfectly with our brand”.
RuTendo received a standing ovation for her domination of the runway and subsequently opened for one of the headline designers of ZFW 2014, Mustafa Hassanali. Dubbed Tanzania’s Pan – African designer, Hassanali has showcased in 28 cities in 19 countries and is named as One of Africa’s Top Male Designers by UK’s New African Woman Magazine.
On making strides in an industry where the norm is tall, sleek and slim runway models, RuTendo asserts, “ …Well, I am the required height so least that’s a requirement I have met! (Laughs). However, times are changing, and I believe I am the representation of a lot of beautiful women both in our country and beyond. I generally struggle in finding clothes that suit by height and size so this is an exciting development in Zim Fashion. Another thing, designers, in particular local, and perhaps regional designers need to be cognizant about is that there is a huge, relatively untapped market in the fuller figure / plus size market. Because we have trouble finding clothes that are stylish, comfortable and trendy, women like me will go a far and wide in sourcing clothes. There is money to be made in our particular market and if designers haven’t caught on to this yet, it’s a real shame. Masara (you have been left behind)!”
An effective artist passionate about the development of art in Africa, Rutendo is also the humble recipient of the following awards and listings;
- One of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) of Zimbabwe (2012) award by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Zimbabwe 2012. JCI is a global network of young active citizens between ages 18 and 40, committed to create positive change in their communities. A partner of the United Nations, AISEEC, Junior Achievers among others, JCI exists in more than 5,000 communities in more than 120 countries worldwide, with a membership of more than 200,000. The organization has been in Zimbabwe since 1967.
- Listed one of the 30 Young Zimbabweans under 30 to watch – isthisafrica.com (2012).
Zambia Fashion Week will be held at Mlungushi Conference Centre in Lusaka, Zambia from 16th – 18th October and will also feature Zimbabwean designers Sabina Mutsavi (Cheukwa), Yvonne Ndawana – Watadza (House of Alpha Rose) and Terrence Chipembere (A Tribe Called)