Signature Toscie a Zimbabwean Fashion blogger, shares insights into the Zimbabwean Fashion industry and African fashion trends in this amazing interview
1. Who is Toscie?
Toscie is me, Tendai Kamusikiri. It is my one and only nickname since the age of 12. It represents a lot of my personality and character that I carry with me in my heart, mind,spirit, body and soul. It is basically the woman that I am, and the woman I am becoming.
2. As a “Fashion Blogger”,explain to us what a Fashion Blogger does?
A Fashion Blogger does a lot of writing, photography, social media and content creation. As a Fashion Blogger my main focus is obviously fashion! From clothing, accessories, shoes, bags, beauty and even lifestyle. It encompasses a lot of reading, research, staying up to date with trends and informing people what is hot, not and what is happening! I am no different from a Fashion Editor, except I am digital and LIVE 24/7.
3. What made you choose to become a Fashion Blogger?
Initially I wanted to be a DJ or a Model. Blogging came as an escape route from reality and as a way of expressing my creative ability. I started blogging in college. I was inspired by the South African fashion industry. Everyone was bold, sassy and they all seemed free; so I wanted to bring that feel into my world.
I was also maturing as a young woman and obviously when you are in college fashion is number 1 on your social calendar. My greatest frustration at the time was that I couldn’t find any boutiques or stores in Harare that had great affordable fashion, nor was anyone at that time documenting these things or sharing any relevant information to help a college girl like myself. So after 8 months in University I started “Signature Toscie” as the go-to and personal lifestyle blog for the modern fashion loving lady.
4. Since you took up blogging, how has been the journey so far? Any benefits and challenges?
The journey has not been an easy one, especially in the contexts of Zimbabwe. Blogging is practically non-existent in Zimbabwe and making your mark as a blogger let alone Fashion Blogger has come with its fair share of anonymity and resistance. Some of the challenges include approaching local Zimbabwean brands and finding a common ground for collaboration or brands aligning us in the same group for free press which in most cases is not our line of work.
However there are benefits to blogging; the invites to launches, cocktails and fashion parties. Getting recognized and appreciated is personally a favorite for me because I ask them what they love about the blog and where they read about it. Another bonus benefit is meeting like-minded creatives and individuals; it is always a blessing to have a conversation with a fellow native.
5. Apart from observing, commenting and following fashion trends, what other things take up your time?
Planning, co-ordination and keeping track of the blog. I spend an ample amount of time planning outfits, looks, blog posts, social media and events just under Signature Toscie. I do a lot of co-ordination by writing for local and regional magazines covering special features and interviews. I keep track of the blog via email and apps (Hoot suite being my favorite and Instagram of course).
6. What can you say about Zimbabwean and African Fashion as a whole?
In a nutshell Zimbabwean Fashion is very much behind in trend forecasting and analysis. But a lot of that emphasis can be placed on the current economic situation. With African Fashion as a whole, I love where Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are going. There is so much variety and creativity in their fashion that one does not feel out of place, but can find a comfort zone to the different design aesthetics available. From African print, to a modern rendition of Parisian chic to the Zulu tribe being showcased on international runways.
African Fashion as a whole is no longer limited to the African continent but has moved beyond our borders into high fashion, and I think the Western culture is starting to take notice.
7. Some words of advice for aspiring Fashion Bloggers.
Blog because you love it!
9. With so many fashion bloggers and more still sprouting up, how do you manage the competition and stay relevant in this narrowed blogging field.
I choose not to compete but work with them and I choose to stay true to myself plus my readers and bring them the best that Signature Toscie has to offer.
11. What do you think the blogging community must do to lure the interest of brands?
I place such emphasis on collaboration because it is truly the key to lure the interest of brands. If bloggers can openly come and work together as a collective platform, it is more of a benefit to lure a brand because there is strength in numbers. More so the particular brand in question will be exposed and availed to different style aesthetics and markets depending on different blogger style and readership.
Bloggers further need to understand the aspect of their influence and how their blog can be an avenue to interest fashion and lifestyle brands. It really runs down to who you are and what you can create.
12. Where do you see your blog in the next 5 years?
Ranked as a top Zimbabwean Fashion and Lifestyle Blog. Possibly with a clothing boutique and PR services. Signature Toscie will be more than just a blog but a fully functioning enterprise.
Connect with Tendai of Signature Toscie: Instagram