Thanks for this opportunity, very much appreciated! Zizu was established in 2015. I started the brand, with lots of support from others, because I wanted to create and wear quality clothes with some meaning. Clothes that represent the world of today, yet in a subtle manner. For our first collection we did exactly that. Currently the world's fastest urbanization takes place in Asia, Africa and to a lesser extent Latin-America. Still we mainly talk about NYC, Paris and if we are lucky Rio de Janeiro. Yet the reality is that a lot of people live in very big cities which are not mentioned that often. Fair enough, these places might be raw and less polished, it is the world we are living in. That very idea became the concept of our first collection. Another reason was that I work as a consultant in Sustainable Economic Development. Consultants and experts talk a lot about the importance of corporations contributing to a better world, however we often have no idea about entrepreneurship and doing business ourselves. Starting a company solved that problem.
Quality, Comfortable, Multicultural
Probably our Maputo Sweater. Camouflage colors on a high quality black sweater. A lot of people ask me what 'Maputo' means while it is the capital of a large country, Mozambique, with soon close to 2 million inhabitants with a lot going on, both in a positive and negative way. The same goes for our 'Accra' and 'Lagos' sweater by the way.
It depends on how you define diversity. On the one hand there is probably more creative diversity and independent fashion brands, from across the world, are partially responsible for that. At the same time the fashion and garment sector is more than ever about scale, pleasing shareholders and profit-seeking behavior, which to me is at odds with creativity and diversity. Moreover, brands claim to source and produce sustainable products but if you take a closer look this is often more window-dressing than a serious attempt to redistribute value or reduce environmental costs. What is worrisome is that smaller brands often buy into the same narrative, because of a lack of interest and education but also due to the constraints posed by the political economic system we have built. Zizu struggles with that as well.
Our designs are inspired by different cultures. I know many say the same thing but I am being for real. If you look at the designs of the three sweaters we made you notice that the font is American varsity. Yet the cities (Lagos, Maputo and Accra) are all testimony of a rapidly changing world in which lots of buzz is in cities and regions outside of the western world. What's more, lots of friends and people I know are proud of their heritage and want to express that.
No big embarrassments yet! Definitely the coolest thing is to see people embracing the concept. Some because they are proud to embrace their roots and heritage, others because they have traveled around see what is going on. The hardest thing is to getting the word out. We are only a beginning brand and need all the help we can get to show our products.
We are currently working on some t-shirts. Due to be released real soon. The key will always be to have creative freedom, it is probably a bit hard to pin us down creatively. Our longer-term dream would be to grow Zizu. As a means to an end. This way we could have more control over the supply chain and set up a cooperative business model to have a positive impact both on the good people that buy a Zizu product as well as on the people who produce it. Finally, I'd really like to do collaborations with talented people in fashion and beyond. So don't hesitate to contact us if you have any ideas.