CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka
TWO BUDDING Zambian fashion designers based in China have penetrated the Asian fashion industry using their Zambian Afrocentric clothing line dubbed Eggzekitive Rob.
The talented youths behind the designs are 21-year-old Chishimba Katongo aka Carvelo and his 22-year-old counterpart Karen Shula.
Katongo and Karen are third-year students studying civil engineering and international trade and economics respectively at universities in Hangzo Province, China.
In 2014, Katongo, while in Zambia, founded the clothing line before meeting Karen, who shared the vision.
The duo officially started making their designs in 2015 during their spare time after school.
In an interview with the Weekend Mail, Katongo said patriotism and the desire to promote Zambian beautiful fabrics is the motivation behind Eggzekitive Rob.
“Like the name [Eggzekitive derived from executive] suggests, we aim at selling unique high-class garments worn by high profile people,” he says. “Our robs symbolise royalty.”
The clothing line also specialises in classic casual and formal wear for gentlemen as well as elegant and funky feminine apparel.
“Our designs are a blend of the modern 21st century and the traditional afro Zambia touch of the chitenge fabric or wax hollandaise fabric,” Katongo said.
The budding designer is happy that the clothing line is so far getting deserving attention from potential clients.
“We hit over 5,000 customer visits on our online stores, we managed to ship to every city where we had orders within China and some of our customers back in Zambia,” Katongo said.
He is thankful to his supportive mother Gwendolyn, who once shipped 10 chitenge materials to China to help boost her son’s business during its infancy.
About a month ago, they put Zambia fashion on the Asian fashion map by showcasing Zambian designs at the Shanghai Black Fashion week.
Eggzekitive Rob was among several high-profile clothing lines that were selected to showcase pieces at the fashion show which attracted top class models, photographers and bloggers from across China.
Zambian model Christina Sakala graced the run-way rocked in Eggzekitive Rob designs, leaving photographers hungry for more.
“We unleashed versatile collections which featured smart men’s kaftans and casual ladies formal wear,” Katongo said. “Male models also donned the summer Ankara men’s boxers, artistic hand-painted denims, traditional African Masai blankets and hand crafted jewelry.”
The clothing line is currently working on this year’s autumn and winter collections.