Hi Antonia! Can you start by telling us what organisation you volunteered with and what your main tasks were?
I was lucky enough to spend three weeks working for ZimTrade in Harare and Bulawayo. ZimTrade promotes exports of Zimbabwean products and helps businesses produce goods for the international market. As part of this work, the organisation is looking to set up a fashion school In Harare. The idea is to implement a curriculum based on international standards with the aim of establishing a strong fashion industry. Our task was to write the curriculum in collaboration with a Zimbabwean designer, view suitable locations for the school and visit local fashion companies.
What did you learn during your assignment and were you able to share any knowledge yourself?
Where to begin? Well, I learned a great deal. For instance, that clothing, style and quality have to meet different requirements in different places and that market and customer analyses can benefit business performance. But also that everyone has their own way of working and their own work schedule. Generally speaking, I got a good idea of how the clothing industry in Zimbabwe and mass production work. But the most important thing I learned was that you have to treat people well if you want a productive workplace.
In terms of sharing my knowledge, I was able to explain how important it is to know about textiles and processes in fashion design. And also that a brand needs its own unique design concept to be successful.