“FASHION IS ABOUT DESIGNING CLOTHES THAT APPEAL TO A CERTAIN PERSONALITY.”
Her pieces have been worn by the likes of local music legend Maureen Lilanda, rapper Cleo Ice Queen and gospel artist Penjani to name a few. For Lusungu Nguni, the brainchild behind Misslu, this is only just the beginning of a dazzling career in fashion.
Winning the Vodafone designer’s challenge during the 2017 Zambia fashion week, only served to solidify her status as a designer to follow in the industry.
“It was good to get recognition by many for the work I do. Showcasing at Zambia Fashion Week and other platforms has also been a highlight. I hope that in the near future I will have more opportunities to showcase in other countries, to get my brand internationally recognised. I think outside Zambia, fashion is respected a little more; people appreciate the work that goes into designing and creating a garment”, Lusungu says.
With fashion becoming an increasingly competitive field, there are so many more platforms on which she can present her brand. Before she can conquer foreign lands though, Lusungu recognises that she still has a lot more to do domestically.
“So far the only major show I have taken part in is Zambia Fashion week. The first time I took part, I was so scared. I didn’t know whether my designs where good enough. But as the years go by I’m gaining the confidence.”
Part of building her confidence comes from her creative process. “I usually let fabric speak to me. Fabric texture or prints always helps me decide what to create. Sometimes just looking at a person’s outfit will inspire a concept or idea. Sometimes spending time in deep thought about what I want to make brings about amazing ideas.”
Yet as is so often the case with creative inspiration, process is often thrown out the window in favour of something more random.
“Sometimes new designs have woken me up in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning. Mistakes in cutting or joining fabrics have on many occasions led to wonderful creations.”
Lusungu, the third of her parents five children, attributes her involvement in fashion to her family, “My family kept pushing me to pursue my talent. My family have been very supportive of my gift. In-fact without their support I probably wouldn’t be doing what I do.”
She reveleals that designing was originally just a hobby that she really enjoyed. But one day she shared it at a church youth meeting and the response was really positive. From there she got encouraged to pursue the gift.”
As the years went by, Lusungu was repeatedly asked by friends and family to do some designing for them.
“Usually my friends would ask me to help design and come up with ideas for bridesmaid dresses for their wedding. People would see the work and begun to get in touch.”
That was the spark she needed to pursue her dream.
“I also remember attending Zambia Fashion week a couple of times and wishing I could participate someday. Eventually I did my first showcase in 2016.”
Lusungu is still trying to set apart her label from her competition. She sees her differentiator as her willingness and ability individualise each piece that she works on.
“I think what sets me apart from other designers is that, when I design clothes I like to design according to the personality, style and body of the person that will wear the outfit. Not every trend will suit every body type or personality, and I really love to work like that. Even when giving advice I like to advise based on the same aspects. Something I really hold on to as a designer is creating clothes that suit the wearer. Elegant and well fitted clothes are timeless. “
“Personally clothes add to my level of confidence in and out of the public eye, so I believe in dressing appropriately according to the occasion”, she says of her personal style.
Part of ensuring each work is fit for the particular client is making sure that the fabric becomes the wearer. This is another characteristic that she feels distinguishes her.
“Another thing that sets me apart is the fact that I let fabric speak to me before I create something. Texture and print of fabric can help you decide what I want or don’t want to make. Other than that I also love to design clothes that will be timeless, classy, elegant and edgy. I also love to add detail to my clothes, whether its lace appliques, embroidery, bling…I love detail.”
Her love for detail is no doubt fueled by her love for what she does. This is evidenced by the way her eyes light up when speaking about design.
“Designing and seeing designs come to life brings me so much joy. I can’t put it into words but it is something I have been interested in most of my life. From making clothes for dolls to adjusting and eventually making my own clothes, to now making clothes for others. It’s been quite a journey.”
The future only looks brighter for Lusungu and her label MissLu, to see more of what she has to offer, follow her on facebook at www.facebook.com/misslusungu/