The Sunday News
Sibongile Ndiweni, Sunday Life Reporter
GLITZ, glamour, classy and trendy are what popular cities like New York in United States are known for. They have over the years defined standards and set the world pace in a number of areas including but not limited to fashion.
And for Diane Deadol, a Zimbabwean fashion designer born and bred in the coal mining town of Hwange and now based in South Africa, nothing beats the feeling that her designs have seemingly gained acceptance in the fast lane fashion industry of New York.
She has seen the success of her fashion career after a bride was spotted gracing the streets of New York in a wedding gown that she designed. The glamorous designer gown which took Diane half-a-year to design and work on, was shipped from South Africa to the bride in New York much to her delight.
In an interview with Sunday Life, Diane who is the owner of the Didi Couture brand expressed her joy towards her success and how her journey of sweat and hard work had paid off on her beautiful career.
“It gives me so much joy and gratitude that the wedding dress was pictured at the Time Square on the streets of New York. It has been a journey of sweat and hard work, and my dreams of showcasing at the New York Fashion Week are getting closer and closer. The picture of the dress on the streets of New York is just a humbling experience of what hard work and vision can accomplish,” she said.
Diane is working on an autumn and winter collection which includes sweat pants, coats and jumpers, and will soon be showcasing a men’s collection. She has been nominated for an award in fashion and beauty in the up-coming South African awards which will be held in March this year.
Diane said her fashion dream was paying off as she had achieved heights she never really dreamt of in her designer career. She said despite the success that she was basking in currently, she would continue with the hard work so as to grab the opportunity of showcasing her designs on the Milan Fashion Week and raise her Didi Couture brand.
“I have been honoured by a local school in Johannesburg where I have been tasked with grooming the talented youths of that school in their passion for fashion designing. I have dressed some of the biggest stars here in South Africa, the likes of Miss South Africa, stars of Big Brother Mzansi, singer Berita, and also media celebrities Zuva (urban tete) with my custom-inspired dresses for the register to vote Zimbabwe and GBV, and many others. My works have even been featured in the Zim Abroad Magazine,” she said.
Diane said her biggest support system in making her dream flourish had been her family and friends. With their continued support, she sees herself building one of the biggest fashion empires in Africa in a few years to come. She also intends to grow the Didi Couture brand both locally and internationally, as well as teaching and inspiring young people who have a passion in fashion designing.
Growing up in the coal mining town of Hwange, Diane said she would often get beatings and reprimands from her grandmother for cutting house curtains leaving them hanging short on the windows to design dresses and costumes for her dolls.
Diane grew up into a woman and nurtured her designing talents. She did not study fashion and designing, but rather studied a few different fields such as engineering but with those qualifications she still did not give up on her dream of being a fashion designer.
The first time Diane got the slot to showcase her designer pieces was on the Soweto Fashion Week in South Africa. This was the opportunity which brought out the success she has today, as she learnt a lot from compiling her collection (fabrics, sketching and making the garments for the runway), to dealing with model fittings and coaching the catwalks. It was the opportunity that gave her the exposure for growth and made her brand bigger both locally and abroad.
Diane says she encourages budding fashion designers to be passionate and to work hard in order for them to fulfill their dreams.
“Success is not an overnight thing, it takes time, focus and courage, and consistency to continually practice and create your pieces. One needs to set their goals and be passionate of the fashion industry,” she added.