Nobunaga Wins Pacific Designers’ Marathon at SSFP 8th Edition; Rori Takes Second Position

Continuing with their mantra of empowering young talent, the SSFP partnered up with Pacific Cigarette Company for a Designers Marathon on the final day. The designer's marathon was won by Bulawayo native Nobunaga after an intense competition amongst the five designers.

Pictures courtesy of @VigorousAesthetics
Pictures courtesy of @VigorousAesthetics

By Nathaniel Gondo

The final weekend of October will go down in history as the first ever three day Skeyi and Strobo Fabrik Party (SSFP). Continuing with their mantra of empowering young talent, they partnered up with Pacific Cigarette Company for a Designers Marathon on the final day. The designer’s marathon was won by Bulawayo creative Nobunaga after an intense competition amongst the five designers.

The highly contested designer’s marathon pitted Nobunaga, Rorisang of Rori Bisamu (impressive DJ too), Jaxx of ROZEBOWL, Fungai Muzoroza and Rey Unders of EER Fashion. They were battling it out for the top gong, which came with a lucrative contract to produce Pacific Cigarette Company merchandise.

Designers’ Marathon Contestants [Pictures courtesy of @VigorousAesthetics]

The winner was picked up by a panel of four judges that included a designer from South Africa — Thandolwethu Mbatha, and two representatives from the Pacific Cigarette Company.

Judges Panel [Pictures courtesy of @VigorousAesthetics]

Nobunaga is the Creative Director for SEXƧOUNDS AƧYLUM. If you’ve been following Nobunaga from his humble beginnings, by now you should know he is inspired by Anime in his aesthetic and design.

It’s only right that he would compare the feeling of winning the designer’s marathon with how Eren Yeager (the main character of popular anime series Attack on Titan) felt when he finally managed to balance on the ODM gear on his last attempt.

For those who haven’t watched AoT and it’s never-ending seasons, the Omni-Directional Mobility (ODM) gear is a fictional device that allows users to propel themselves through the air by grappling onto objects and swinging. It is the Survey Corps’ primary weapon against Titans. “This is that feeling that Eren got when he managed to balance on the omni-directional mobility (ODM) gear for the first time on his last attempt,” beams Nobunaga.

Still confused? Well in layman terms, Nobunaga sees the win as a testament to his capabilities and his growth as a designer. He says, “In non-anime terms, the feeling is great as it stands as a testament to yourself, your competition and everyone about your ability and how good you are.”

Nobunaga alluded to the stiff competition he faced, considering he was up against the creme de la creme of Zimbabwean contemporary fashion. He adds, “Looking back at the contestants, it was a huge fight as you are going up against what is deemed to be the future of fashion with exceptions to a few names not being part of the fight.”

Convertible Fashion, ‘Limitless Possibilities’

Nobunaga showcased a jacket and pants collection titled ‘Limitless Possibilities,’ a befitting ode to the Pacific slogan.

Model Blue Smoke (left) and designer Nobunaga (right) [Pictures courtesy of @VigorousAesthetics]

The suicide biker jacket is the epitome of ‘convertible fashion’. It can be worn both ways(inside and outside). One side is plain silver, while the other side is white has a baggy silhouette emblazoned with a graphic print of the Pacific Breeze logo.

The jacket is a literal Pandora’s box. It can also be transformed into a mini bag, in case if the weather changes or if you want to carry any essentials.

The jacket converts into a bag, the pants convert into shorts [Pictures courtesy of @VigorousAesthetics]

The pants are a straight fit silhouette with a high waist, two button enclosure and Pacific logo belt buckles. The pants can also be transformed into shorts by way of two separation zippers intricately hidden just under the knees.

Of Corporates and Creatives

Nobunaga sees this partnership of SSFP and the Pacific Cigarette Company as a deserved spotlight on young creatives who have been working tirelessly to build the contemporary fashion scene in Zimbabwe. He hopes that in these partnerships, they can maintain their creative freedom while still receiving some quantifiable financial reward for their work.

He expressed, “As lot of people have been putting in work underground. It’s opportunities like these which will grow the industry by bringing light to those underground, through exposure, but hopefully also financial aid and freedom, mainly, to create. The geniuses & creators have to eat also as it is very costly to function in said spaces and frameworks.”

Nobunaga expressed his gratitude for these opportunities that are being bestowed upon them as young creatives by corporates. He rallies on corporates to continue with their support, for the youth are ready to play their role, using their creativity. “I will always be grateful for the love and opportunities you have put us on because you didn’t have to and that’s what we will hold dearest. Stay shining and building the culture, the war continues and the weapons of mass destruction are ready-made to conquer,” declares Nobunaga.

It would be unfair for Pacific Cigarette Company to reward Nobunaga and leave out Blue Smoke, who did an impressive job of modeling the winning outfit. Speaking to Mcheno&More after the triumph, he was stunned by the win, and in awe of Nobunaga’s sheer brilliance shown by the convertible outfit. “Truly speaking I wasn’t expecting for us to win the Designers Marathon. Nobu’s mind is out
of this world no one was even expecting to see an outfit which can be worn inside out, and
for any season, and is a bag too!” beams Blue Smoke.

Like his counterpart, Blue Smoke thanked the Pacific Cigarette Company for the opportunity, and promised to deliver even better. He says, “I’m really humbled and super excited to be part of this Initiative and working with the Pacific Cigarette Company. If they’re gonna (sic) continue giving us a platform we promise even better work, this was just the beginning.”

Rorisang, who scooped the runner up position, saw the Designers’ Marathon as more of a platform for expression than a competition. He says, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to take part in this competition and I wouldn’t describe it as a competition but more of a sphere to express how you would make something that is consumable mostly for a wider range of people.”

Runner up Rorisang (right) and model Nisha Khalesi (left) [Pictures courtesy of @VigorousAesthetics]

Nobunaga was coy to reveal the finer details of the upcoming project with the Pacific Cigarette
Company. For now, he is focused on soaking in the moment, while paving the way for a clearly bright future.

“A chef never tells you the special, they just put it on the menu. In simpler terms, we want to
make something special. You will only know when it’s out, right now we are working on building bridges and foundations which haven’t been laid yet,” he concludes.


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