Updated: Dec 23, 2019
Although she was always creatively inclined, Danayi Madondo only turned to fashion in her early twenties. In addition to designing her women's wear label, Haus of Stone, she's channeled her creative talent into the contemporary African-inspired retail space, ISU Collections. What does the future hold for this young creative entrepreneur?
Name : Danayi Madondo
Currently Based In : Harare, Zimbabwe
Education : BA in TV and Creative Advertising & Film (Curtin University of Technology, Australia)
BA in Fashion Design (LISOF, South Africa)
What inspired you to pursue a career as a creative entrepreneur?
I have just always been creatively inclined but wasn't conscience of it. It's only in my early 20's after encountering designers like Trish Carmen, Ska Sebata & Sagoe Deola, where I thought that being a fashion designer could actually be an option for me.
In 2013, you launched the women’s wear label, Haus of Stone. It’s been described as “evocative of the urban vintage sartorialist” and as an amalgamation of, “hybrid global Afro-centric expressions and moods”. In your own words, what is Haus of Stone all about?
Haus Of Stone has truly been all those things, but today in 2018, I would define Haus of stone as a continually evolving fashion brand, which exists between the realm of fantasy and reality. This is evident mostly through our story based visual narratives. It's ready-to-wear apparel for the conscious aspirational woman, 'the global traveler' & experience curators.
You’ve recently announced the imminent release of a new collection. What will differentiate this collection from previous ones?
The narrative is always different, but what differentiates this collection from the rest is the amount of consciousness and intent I placed on developing this collections, from the designs, to the visuals down to the very business structure of putting it into the market place. There is a maturity about this collection, an effortlessness and a certainty that exists within it.
What challenges have you faced working as a creative in Zimbabwe?
Access to international markets & the lack of the 'right' markets locally. Another challenge would be the mentality of those within your space; we have a long way in educating people on the creative industry. A lot of people do not understand, value &/or respect it, and sometimes this very mentality can also exists with the very creatives themselves. If we aren't clued up on our industry, we can't expect to enlighten anyone else.
What is your biggest career highlight to date?
Coming from a country like Zimbabwe, having the capacity and courage to even start something with limited resources available is my greatest career highlight, because I have managed to do that for all my companies. Not only have I managed to start, they have had impact and have served people positively which is the ultimate goal.
You’ve always expressed a desire to work with other Zimbabwean creatives. As a result, you founded ISU Collections, a space where local designers and creatives can showcase and sell their products. Tell us a little about ISU Collections and what can we expect from it in future?
ISU Collections is a contemporary African inspired retail space which promotes & distributes locally made lifestyle products. Everything about us is 'colourful', from our brand personality to the very products we house. We will be launching an online & mobile platform in 2019. In the meantime we will be hosting Private Product Viewings with our current loyal customer base.
What does a day in the life of Danayi look like?
No day is ever the same as the last, because I am my own boss I can have 13+hr/working days & sometimes I can allow myself the luxury of a 4hr working day, but not very often. Each day has it's own challenges, but I have always been blessed enough to work with sensational people who unashamedly carry my vision as if it were their own.
Finally, what advice do you have for young Zimbabwean designers striving to make a name for themselves?
Get to know yourself, know what interests you & why, know how you wish to contribute to society through your talents & skills. Be patient with yourself, it is a process. See everyday as an opportunity to learn. Run your own race, at your own pace, but make sure you set a pace so you can measure your goals. If you fail, see is as a mistake well learnt and move on, don't dwell on the past, or worry about the future, there is success waiting for you in every single day.
The new Haus of Stone collection will be out soon and is not to be missed. Stay up to date on Instagram and Facebook. Interested in other items made by Zimbabwean designers? Check out ISU Collections on Instagram and Facebook.