I was recently invited to collaborate on a fashion line with Chesney Williams, a young designer from Zimbabwe for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I had the opportunity to live fashions dreams by creating a range that was a great depiction of my style and yes part of hers as well… lol!!!! I completely fell in love with her spirit and passion. She is ultimate #WCW material.
Who is Chesney Williams?
I am a striving, young designer who is originally from Zimbabwe. I Studied at Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy. I am hungry to make my mark in the fashion industry. I’m an outgoing person who loves to embrace every opportunity that unfolds itself in front of her – life is too short not to enjoy every moment and to learn from every experience, good or bad.
What do you love about fashion?
I absolutely love the creative way of communicating through fashion. It conveys a person’s mood and allows one to express their personality without having to say a word. I love that fashion can be fun yet also serious and can convey important messages on what is happening in the world and help gain recognition on things that are very important.
Does it reflect your personal style?
Fashion definitely does! I love to mix simplicity with a pop of bohemian flare. Mixing up classic pieces with statement accessories or fringing is definitely my ultimate go-to favourite.
Describe the person who would wear your designs?
It would be someone who loves unique fashion trends that sets them apart from the rest. They love to take risks and explore fashion that lets their unique taste come through.
When did you know that you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I know this is such a cliché but I’ve always loved fashion! From dressing up in my mom’s clothes and playing with her makeup – I knew from the start that I had a love for clothing and it just grew.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion means everything to me! It’s fun, exciting and constantly teaching me. I love that it’s constantly pushing me to learn and explore knew things about the world and myself.
What is AFI Fastrack and what is your involvement?
AFI Fastrack is a program, which helps young designers gain a platform into the South African fashion industry. It helps guide and teach designers what it takes to make it. I entered Fastrack in hopes to gain knowledge about the industry and get exposure. I am very proud to say I made it to the top three!
You and I collaborated and showcased at AFI this year, how was that experience?
My experience collaborating with you was one that I will never forget! From the beginning, I knew that I was meeting a woman who I have always looked up to and that I could gain so much inspiration from. We actually have so much in common and we just vibed straight away. Our creativity sparked and we fed off of each other’s ideas, which led to a very special collection.
How would you describe the range we designed?
The range consists of quality pieces that are classic in style yet have very trendy and unique elements, which give the collection its overall edge.
Working with someone who has no real experience in fashion must have been challenging but you were extremely accommodating and professional, so thank you for that. What did you learn from this experience?
Working with you has taught me so much and opened my mind to endless possibilities. I’ve now learned how to be taken seriously but retain my edge and fun with my fashion. This is what I admire the most about working women – we can be unique and still kill it!
Do you think there are opportunities in the South African fashion industry for young and talented designers such as yourself?
Absolutely! The industry is filled with so much talent and creativity but it comes down to how badly you want to make your mark and what makes you different from the rest.
I met your family – what amazing support you’ve got! How important is having a strong support structure?
Having a support system is crucial. This industry is fast-paced and having a support system to cheer you on and reassure you, helps keep your feet on the ground. My family helps me stay focused and never lets me forget who I really am.
What keeps you going?
It’s the fact that I’m only starting. There is still so much more ahead. I appreciate everyday that I get to do what I absolutely love. I get to create and let my imagination grow. I’m truly blessed to do what I love and I want to push as hard as I can so that I never have any regrets. I get to meet and work with amazing people and learn something new every day, how can I not love what I do?
What are your plans for the future?
I’m determined to continue working on my personal brand. I also want to travel to gain as much inspiration as possible to put into my collections. I also plan on showcasing more on South African and international catwalks.