Focus on Yet Galore: The Upcycling Brand Dominating Zimbabwe’s Runways

Yet Galore is well on its way to becoming a streetwear staple, bolstered by appearances at two of Zimbabwe’s biggest fashion events of 2023—The Fabrikans Convention, and the Zimbabwe Fashion Week; just eight days apart.

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Yet Galore by Tashinga Chigombe

If you haven’t been paying attention, the earth is dying. 2023 was the hottest year on record, globally. Closer to home, Zimbabwe and the SADC region had been forecasted to receive below normal rains due to the El Nino effect, I honestly have no idea how we got lucky.

The fashion industry is a significant contributor to climate change, mostly through dumping and the manufacture of synthetic fabric.

What drives this significant contribution is the consumerism prevalent in today’s fashion. We just enjoy chasing the latest trends, decided by some fashion company executives in the Western world.

When the fashion finally trickles down to Africa, it’s either second hand—already overworked by some hypebeast in New York; or cheap knockoffs manufactured in China, the new industrial capital of the world.

Three months later, the trend is barely a memory. Do you remember the Bottega Veneta craze? Of course, you don’t—it was just another passing fad.

This is why we should upcycle more. Instead of just buying brands that will be embarrassing to wear in six months, we should support homegrown brands that reimagine already-manufactured clothing to create refreshing, creative new pieces.

I believe this approach to clothing design can bring the dynamic change needed to make fashion sustainable.

I became an ardent disciple of the upcycling movement when I attended the relaunch of The Zimbabwe Fashion Week in October last year.

It is there where I stumbled upon a brand called Yet Galore.

The brains behind the brand is Tashinga Chigombe, but don’t use that name if you’re looking for him in these streets. Most know him as Xavi Dasante.

Tashinga ‘Xavi Dasante’ Chigombe

The 21-year-old designer stumbled upon fashion almost by chance. When he moved from South Africa in 2018, he settled in the resort town of Victoria Falls. He enrolled at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School for his O Levels, where it was compulsory to take a practical subject.

Chigombe didn’t hesitate to pick Fashion. “I was the only boy in my class at the time but as awkward as that scenario looked, I was comfortable in that space and so my creativity just grew from that experience,” he reminisces.

He went ahead and cemented his fashion acumen further by taking a Diploma in Patternmaking and Design at Speciss College.

Just two years his graduation, his brand Yet Galore is well on its way to becoming a streetwear staple, bolstered by appearances at two of Zimbabwe’s biggest fashion events of 2023—The Fabrikans Convention, and the Zimbabwe Fashion Week; just eight days apart.

“This was totally the best way to end the year, and put my work out there. I managed to showcase nine looks at the Zimbabwe Fashion Week and six looks at Fabrik Party, which both were amazing events. I met so many amazing people and received a lot of good remarks. Both events were a good outcome for me and the brand,” Chigombe reflects on the experience.

The Zimbabwe Fashion Week proved that Chigombe can deliver spectacular results under pressure, as he only had a week to prepare. As for the Fabrikans showcase, it was more of a continuation of the impression he had made at the Victoria Falls edition of the Fabrik Party Activation Tour in June 2023.

With how much Yet Galore has blown up over the last year you’d think maybe Chigombe is a seasoned designer, but alas! He says, ” The brand has been alive for just about two years now, it’s actually close to three but the first year was one I used to establish the brand and so after that year it started getting recognised and so for me it is two years old.”

Yes, upcycling has become almost a trademark for Yet Galore, but that wasn’t really the initial intention. The pivot was brought about by the dearth of raw materials to make authentic, creative pieces. “That’s why I reverted to upcycling. Not to say it’s a bad thing but it was not the initial idea behind the brand,” explains the 21-year-old.

We’re not complaining, are we? Yet Galore pieces reflect boundless creativity, that rare type that comes from within. It’s clear that Chigombe is guided by his intuition more than his (deserved) intellect in his creative process. He says, “I am one person who doesn’t sketch anything, because if I sketch it’s not going to come out. I design as I make the piece.”

He adds, “Most of my designs are centred around quotes. It’s either music or just something someone said, if I like it, I will use it.”

Tashinga Chigombe is evidently self-inspired, judging from his unparalleled designs. “I don’t really have a person who is a role model but I do have a brand that inspires me,” he confesses.

And it’s not the cliché streetwear brands like Supreme or BAPE. It’s a South Korean brand called Ader Error. You should check it out, you’ll see the inspiration.

Ultimately, the designer hopes that Zimbabweans gain an appreciation of the art of upcycling. He says, “I just want people to appreciate art more. Art is not appreciated in Zimbabwe, especially upcycling and I just want everyone to be more open to it.”

He’s been paying attention to fellow upcyclers on the Zimbabwe Fashion scene and hopes to collaborate with some of them in the near future. “I haven’t done any collaborations as of yet. But there is a wide range of amazing creatives out there that I would love to work with such as Ric Chasers and Richard Jeans,” he concludes.

Every possible reason for any average Zimbabwean points towards rallying behind Tashinga Chigombe and Yet Galore.

If not for the sustainability, let it be for the drip. If it’s not for either of those, let it be for the patriotism.

Here is a homegrown brand creating authentic high-end streetwear in a sustainable manner, shining on Zimbabwe’s biggest runways. Can you really tell me a fake Gucci t-shirt is worth your attention when brands like these exist?

You can stay up to date with everything Yet Galore on Xavi Dasante’s Instagram. There, you can place your order from the catalogue, or better yet, get a one-of-one custom piece made for you.

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