Edwin Nhukarume, Entertainment Reporter
SCIENTIST Nokukhanya Patience Kodzai who specialises in medical research has refused to suppress her passion for fashion and designing.
She has decided to capture her memories of tough upbringing by creating stylish clothes out of rags.
Nokukhanya’s story seems to be a journey to turn rags to rich outfits, a reflection of her life too – now a scientist but during her childhood her granny couldn’t afford to spoil her often.
In an interview with H-Metro & Entertainment Lifestyle, the Bulawayo based scientist said her desire to have peculiar and outstanding fashion mainly caused by her poor background inspired her to venture into designing.
“I was aged 11 when I developed this liking for designing. Then I used to stay with my grandmother and we didn’t necessarily have much, so that meant I only got new trendy clothes only on Christmas.
“But my friends always had new trendy and stylish clothes and I wanted that too. So I would cut my old clothes to try and make them stylish so that I felt like I looked good too.
“I wanted to create clothes that were stylish and trendy. I wanted to define my own style and trend because I couldn’t afford following already existing trends,” said Nokukhanya.
The 24-year-old has designed an outfit called Elitah (long and gold outfit on the pic), paying tribute to her grandmother naming it after her.
“I call it ‘Elitah’. Elitah is my grandmother’s name. When I told my grandmother I wanted to pursue designing and start my own clothing money she blessed me and gave me my start-up money so this is my first official design and it’s an embodiment of her love and support.
“That is why if you look closely the design is renaissance contemporary,” she said.
Nokukhanya has vowed to create outfits that will instill confidence in people and she castigated the idea of showing skin as the only way to present beauty.
She believes today’s generation is misguided on what defines beauty.
“I want to create trends that define beauty in numerous ways. I want to make clothes that make people feel beautiful nomatter what the design.
“Thing is, I noticed that our generation, generation Z, and the 2000s generation have been brainwashed into thinking that showing some skin is what makes you look beautiful.
“I want to break that mentality and make sure they know that even when you are fully covered you look beautiful, when you show some skin you still look beautiful. That’s why this design, Elitah, completely covers the skin from the back yet its revealing at the front. I hope that makes sense,” she told H-Metro.
Nokukhanya said she is balancing her medical research career and designing and believes one should have different ways of getting income.
“I am employed. Well, juggling two things at the same time it’s quite difficult and overwhelming but I work as a scientist during the day (8hrs), and then design during my spare time and at night.
“Weekends are also allocated for my designs. So I don’t necessarily have the luxury of ‘fun time’ like most of my friends. Designing time is my ‘fun time’,” said Nokukhanya.
“I believe that an individual shouldn’t have one stream of revenue, they should have at least four.
“Secondly, because both science and designing are my passion, they are my two loves, they both pique my creativity side,” she said.
Nokukhanya is also inspired by Rihana and Zendaya.
“Zendaya’s style of dressing is inclusive. She defines beauty in a way that makes anyone relate. She makes you feel sexy no matter what you wear.
“Rihanna also has a wide range of style. She creates her own trends, she does not follow someone else’s,” said Nokukhanya.