Unique Sibanda: A lover of Fashion and Fabrics

One quote goes “if you love something set it free if it comes back its yours if it doesn’t it was never was” Once upon a time she tried to forget about her calling of fabrics. She crossed to another profession but not for long her call for Fashion,sewing and fabrics re-lived in her.

STAR-TREK

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@kudathelegend

Her story begins in Rural Kezi Zimbabwe. The image of her grandfather sitting outside the hut in a suit sewing while smoking a pipe. The visual hasn’t left her memory. She believes thats how it all started.

Unique(Right) Witha a Model at AFWL
Unique(Right) Witha a Model at AFWL

 

The Road… 

The dream on fashion developed from a love for modelling“I used to dream of New York and Paris Fashion Week, not as a designer but a model” she laughs Unique Sibanda has always been sewing and tinkering with fabric since she was a toddler and that love hasn’t gone away, “I just loved sewing and fabrics” Despite being turned down to be a super Model because of her height, Unique with her Dertermination had to change her dream.

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In Bulawayo she managed to enter different pageants Miss Teen Queen,Miss Universe Zim .Consistency  and hardwork saw her work with Faces Models Agency which was run by Nandi Nkomo and did works for house of Kumali, Zimbabwe Furnishers and Meikles. In 1999 she won Miss Legs Bulawayo “that was exciting back then you won practical stuff, I won money and a Mr Henry Hoover which i think my parents still use till this day” she says with nostlagia.

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening…”- Coco Chanel

It was on arrival in the United Kingdom (UK), that she was able to pursue designing. She studied clothing and manufacturing at Barnfield College. “I continued to sew for friends and hired a studio in Luton for about a year, unfortunately that didn’t go well, i left the fashion industry for a while and worked as a Dispensing Optician (Trainee) this was a safe option and it paid bills”. All that didn’t last long as she got bored and went back to her roots, were her passion is. She decided to go to University and now she is in her final year studying Fashion Marketing at Regents University.This exposed her to the business of Luxury and high end Fashion, “I found myself once again designing and sewing outfits to wear to  University because I didn’t really like anything”

The Birth Of Le Khaya…

Le Ekhaya was born from a love of all vintage and African prints. It’s a Ndebele phrase that means ‘back home’. A return to self and remembering what keeps me inspired my home Bulawayo.My designs aim to evoke a nostalgic feel.

My designs speak to – and of- the resilience and strength of the everyday woman in an era (the 50’s and 60’s) who expressed their defiance through styles that exuded elegance, chique, sexiness and joie de vive!

The Le Ekhaya woman says I am every woman and every woman is me.

The designs become a fusion that embodies the fierceness of the vintage woman, the fragility of the modern woman and the vision of the future woman

Creative Process…

Unique works better at night, “I’ve been known to stay up very late and at times not even sleep because I had an ideal that I needed to see in its actuality”. She goes fabric shopping on Tuesdays and that’s where it all starts. “I let the fabric speak to me… that sounds very funny… but that’s how this collection came together”. I found this beautiful poly wool fabric during one of my trips. I bought a little and made the Valarie Play suit.. and it just went from there… now here’s something strange for you.

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“Sometimes I buy a fabric and carry it around with me and I just let it speak to me,  In the case of the green poly wool I laid it on my cutting table for days and just kept looking at it and I had a dream of the collection”I then did some research to make sure that my designs were one of a kind The more I created pieces the more inspiration I got.I actually made the dress I wore for the Finale at AFWL the night before the show… unfortunately that’s when the inspiration came…
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Careear Highlights…

Africa Fashion Week London(AFWL) stands out to be Unique’s major Highlight “I’d say these past few days after AFWL have been a highlight I never dreamed of the response that I am getting and that I got from AFWL. The pictures went viral before I even had a chance to lay my head down” 

Describe your Fashion Style in 5 Words…

Chique, Classic, Vintage, Fresh and Afropolitan

Inspiration…

Unique is inspired by her Daughter. “She just has this je ne sais quoi… she reminds me of me when I was young and naïve about life, She’s my joy and my inspiration. Besides her it’s just life in general”The creative genius marvels at how she tried to leave fashion and design but somehow it kept calling her back.

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“It reminds me of the scripture in Roman 8:9 . which implies that everything around us is just waiting for us to realise who we are” for me that translated to owning up to the fact that I was good at sewing and designing and everything has just fallen in place (paraphrasing lol)

Favourite Quote…

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening…”- Coco Chanel

Fashion Icon…

Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel

This will sound strange but I really don’t have any… if anything I’d say Coco Chanel.. she was a maverick and just did amazing things for fashion… other than that I really do admire the work ethic of top designers like Oscar De Le Renta and Valentino Garavani They have pretty much dedicated their lives to their work. And you can tell that it was a true passion

One Thing You Can’t Live Without…

My IPhone lol… I do everything on it. I even send invoices on it… but there have been times I’ve had to switch it off. That’s a difficult one…It’s a shame it needs to be constantly charged.

Your Last Words…

Wow… all I can say is thank you… the fact that they have taken a moment to look my way means a lot… I’m only just a Ndebele Girl from Bulawayo. My dad just had to go and name me Unique and I’m stuck with it so I guess I have to own it …lol

You can follow Unique’s work On Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Le-Ekhaya/1396952217193882?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/?lang=en-gb
Instagram: https://instagram.com/leekhaya/
Website: www.leekhaya.com
Email: enquiries@leekhaya.com