Style and confidence requires knowing yourself and wearing what you feel best in
Today we are hitting the streets with an ambitious young woman who is currently making waves in the fashion industry. She is into everything plus size and her hope is to create something out of her imagination for them and to help build their confidence. Facebook@zaralizkaftan, Instagram@zaralizkaftan or call her on +23278646080
Dasalonetiti: Give readers a brief background of yourself.
Zara: I am Elizabeth Zara Sesay, who was born and raised in Wilberforce, Freetown. Coming from a nuclear family, my mom pass away when I was just fourteen and those were the worst days in my life. I was able to grieve and move past the pain of losing her, though it wasn’t easy. I decided to use my time and energy wisely afterwards.
Dasalonetiti: Why Fashion designing for you?
Zara: I chose fashion because of my passion for it. We had a sewing machine at home from which I have learned the basics of doing stitches and patchwork. One day I sat down thinking of what next to do as the business I was into did not work well for me. Let me talk about that a bit. I was into travelling out of the country and buying clothing and accessories which I would bring home and sell on cash and credit basis, but as we all know some of the issues with that sort of business, most of my capital was in the hands of people, which was very challenging to recover and I lost most of my money. Now back to why I choose fashion designing. I was thinking about what next to do with my life after my business went bad. I knew I wanted to be a designer, I have always loved designing but wanted to go get some basic education in some vocational institute or someplace else. I told my friends about it and they laugh me off; saying I should get prepared to be an errand girl for the bosses or masters. The thought of me going for the skill training was too amusing for them. One day a sister of mine, that is living abroad sends me a photo of something she wants me to get for her. I was too embarrassed to let her know I was broke and could not afford to send her that piece. I was able to raise some money so I went to town and bought the fabric, I went home but was too scared to spoil her fabric so I decided to try it on something I owned. I get on to YouTube and downloaded how to cut a piece of fabric for a kaftan design and the rest is the history they say.
Dasalonetiti: How did the name come about?
Zara: Well my brand name is basically me, as it is a combination of my middle and first names. Liz is short for Elizabeth, the kaftan, for me is a reminder of where I started, Kaftan was the first thing I ever design that why I added that to my brand name ZARALIZ KAFTAN.
Dasalonetiti: What are some of the things your brand is known for?
Zara: I am into designing kaftans, kimonos, palazzo pants, blazers and suits for women.
Dasalonetiti: what is your favourite part of being a designer?
Zara: shopping for great fabrics, blending vibrant colours and seeing the finished product on happy clients are my favourite parts of my job.
Dasalonetiti: what are some of your lows?
Zara: Some of the downside of this business from my experience had been some people putting orders with you for a week, sometimes as long as a month and not paying anything. Another one for me is that people do send you a picture or idea of what they want and after designing it, they will return and complain that it is not what they ask for. But I know it comes with the territory and if there is one virtue I have been amazingly doing well at is patience. I thank God for my clients though, they had been good and keeping me busy.
Dasalonetiti: where do you see your business in the near future?
Zara: In the next few years, I see myself growing and enlarging my customer base. Opening a designing school is a long term dream of mine, teaching young people the skills and art of making kaftan is the ultimate plan.
Dasalonetiti: Give us a few names of the designers you admire both locally and internationally.
Zara: Locally I will say Jenneh Amara Bangalie, Sai Sankoh, Abdel Mumini and Kadiatu Kamara. Internationally I admire Marc Jacobs, Elizabeth Arden, and Kate Spady.
Dasalonetiti: Tell readers one pet peeve of yours.
Zara: I hate when someone chews gum loudly especially in public.
Dasalonetiti: What’s your advice to young Sierra Leoneans?
Zara: My advice to young people especially those who want to enter the fashion industry is to stay calm and be ready to put the hard work. They should try to look for what they are better at in the industry and focus on that particular stuff and create a niche as the fashion industry is a huge one.
I hope we all are inspired by her story. She started with just one sewing machine now she has four and had created employment for two others. The youth of Sierra Leone just be committed to whatever you are doing now, with hard work and dedication it will pay off in due time. ✌peace
©By Rahima Vandy-Kargbo known as dasalonetiti Rahima