27 November 2018
. . . Zim designer going places
Whatever business you are in, you must be top notch to attract the interest of Cassper Nyovest, Ricky Rick, Jah Prayzah, Pokello, Ginimbi, Crooger and Coco Master.
Richmond Mlambo, a 26-year-old Zimbabwean designer/stylist has done just that – and more.
His label, ‘Chasers’, is the talk of town – at least the classy side of town.
Those that follow Pokello, Ginimbi, Jah Prayzah, Shashl, to mention a few, have seen the quartet wearing personalized Chasers denim jackets.
You most probably have not seen those jackets anywhere else. They have not flooded the market – and it is all part of Richmond’s plan.
“Those jackets are limited edition. I am only making 20 of them for the whole of Zimbabwe and after that I design something else. I want the people who wear Chasers to feel unique and special because they are,” said Richmond.
Each jacket costs $220.
It is that penchant to be unique which pushed Richmond into designing.
“When I was at Midrand University in SA, I wanted to be unique. So I would invest in shoes and became well known for donning the latest snickers.
“However, I was not so happy with the T-Shirts I would wear along with the snickers so I started designing my own T-Shirts. People then started asking me where I got the T-Shirts and many wanted me to make some for them as well. I saw an opportunity and decided to launch ‘Chasers’. I was just having fun and looking for money to buy more exclusive snickers. I made 20 T-Shirts for the launch – which was on 23 September 2015. They all sold out that very day!
“Suddenly I became more ambitious with the project and also started designing caps. I got Cassper Nyovest to endorse my caps that same year and then later Riky Rick did the same with my T-Shirts.”
Richmond says he was not very creative when he started off and he combined his caps and T-Shirts with selling shoes. He would buy good label shoes for re-sell and then offer his T-Shirts and caps as bonuses for whoever bought the shoes.
In June 2016, he had made enough money to buy his first car – a Renault Megane.
That same year, Richmond decided to get an ambassador for his label and he did not go for a cheap one. He went for Tifney, that model famous for starring in Jah Prayzah featuring Diamond Platnumz’ Watora Mari video wearing a red dress.
When Diamond came with Tifney to Zimbabwe for the famous Watora Mari concert at HICC, she was wearing Chasers from the airport.
The next thing, Richmond was on Vuzu TV with his label, then he was having pop up stores at University of Pretoria, Vits, Monache . . . then he was featuring at a Mercedes Benz fashion show and suddenly the sky was the limit for him.
He has made a name for himself in South Africa and is doing the same in Zimbabwe and his label is not for the average.
Besides Tifney, he has also dressed Crooger (who he says was the first celebrity to believe in him), Coco Master and many other celebrities.
Richmond dressed Takura in his Jehova video and made Takura his brand ambassador for Chasers tracksuits.
Then he released denim jackets and made Pokello the brand ambassador. For every collection, he has a different brand ambassador – a classy hard-to-get one.
“Next I’m venturing into crop tops, shorts and a huge project that I cannot mention now,” says Richmond.
And all his collections come in limited edition.
“People do not feel good if what they are wearing is all over town,” he insists.
“I buy expensive garments because I want to boost people’s self-esteem through my brand. I want Chasers label to make a statement. I want it to be worn by an elite few.”
After 2016 success, Richmond got his second toy, a Chevrolet Cruze, 2016 model.
Richmond invests in everything, even a 30-second advert for his label costs him an arm and a leg.
“One advert is like a music video – Vuzu TV for example are really strict, they want videos taken by certain cameras and are strict on quality. So I have to match that because I’m also strict on quality,” says Richmond.
Perhaps what he wrote on one of his Instagram stories best summarizes Richmond and where he is going,
“Faith is the poetry of our dreams. Action is the builder of our dreams. Never stop dreaming African child. You’re never too young to build an empire, you’re never too old to chase a dream.”