Durban based designer Zama Mathe, head designer at Zarth, surely understands that consistency, innovation and creativity are building blocks for a successful fashion label. Her strong work ethic and understanding a woman’s body has seen her trajectory on the rise, reaching heights that no other Durban based female designer has been able to achieve.
Career trajectory of a fast rising star
Born in Zululand, she worked at a bank and then did a short stint at net care before the fashion bug bit her. People were often intrigued by the fabulous clothes that she wore, it then clicked that she could make a successful business out of making clothes for other people. She has never looked back since.
Zama Mathe launched her clothing label in 2009. Her meteoric rise began after being discovered in 2012, and was offered an opportunity to showcase at Fashion by the sea event, then at Vodacom Durban July.
In 2013 she was invited by Durban Fashion Fair to do a 20 look collection. Even though Faced with financial constraints and lack of manpower, she managed to pull the biggest event of her career. Durban Fashion Fair exposed the Zarth brand to a larger clientele, and finally cemented it as a luxury brand.
Durban Fashion Fashion came calling again in 2014, she was invited to take part in an internship program in Milan for 3 week. Juggling running a business via Skype and being a student in Milan was no easy task, she forged ahead, gained vast amount of knowledge from Angela Atelier, a couturier for Versace, Valentino, Cavalli, Armani Prive and Prada.
When asked how the DFF mentorship program helped her? She replied ‘ the DFF mentorship program helped me grow as an entrepreneur, how to price my garments, my intellectual property , my time and mostly how to pay myself’. Through the DFF Program she honed her skills in fabric manipulation, learned how to work with delicate fabrics, mix and layer different textured fabrics.
In October 2015 she flew the South African flag high, she was invited to open at Ghana fashion week. Her designs were well received by the creme de la creme of Ghanian fashion. This platform gave her access to west African market and new fabrics.
Zama Mathes advice for up coming designers is ‘patience and hard work is key in the fashion industry, know what you are good at, and most importantly share knowledge and skills with fellow designers’.
Zama hopes to give all fashion lovers access to her brand, by developing a ready to wear range and opening up a clothing store in 2016.
She is a force to be reckoned with, we are sure she will leave an indelible mark on African fashion industry and the rest of the world.