By Nathaniel Gondo
The originators of urban culture classic, the ‘RUN 263’ t-shirt, have made a searing return to the
now booming street wear scene, with the release of the Mazimoto Capsule.
Founded in 2005, QMCV Apparel is one of Zimbabwe’s most enduring street wear brands. The Mazimoto Capsule is their first release in over a year.
Some of you may remember the name Quinton McVandal. The brand was popular among hip
hop heads during the Stunner, Few Kings, and MMT era (2010-2014). The streetwear icon has
since upbranded to QMCV, and to mark their return, they’ve released a solid seven piece
collection that is an appreciation of its past and a peek into its future.
The brand’s SS23 collection is called the Mazimoto Capsule, a double entendre alluding to the heat of the summer, as well as how ‘hot’ the collection is. Panashe Madziva, co-founder and Chief Designer of QMCV, brags, “Mazimoto loosely translates to ‘so much fire’ and acts as a double entendre that serves as a description of the feeling of the heat of the summer and how hot our collection is.”
The collection comprises of seven t-shirts adorned with impressive designs that will surely appeal to the urban youth. QMCV used relatable statements like ‘Hatisi Kutambira Zvichemo’ and ‘Maodzanyemba Anoyeuka’ to create pieces that have a universal appeal. Four designs take inspiration from Zimbabwean urban culture. There’s an ode to ‘H-Town Heavyweights’, a shout out to the people of ‘South Samora’ and ‘North Samora’, and the ‘Madzimbabwe’ t-shirt which used Roman numerals for Zimbabwe’s postal code.
The star of the collection is a QMCV staple — the ‘RUN 263’ t-shirt, which has been a staple since their inception in late 2012. The design is back as part of the Mazimoto Capsule, by popular demand. Madziva explains what prompted the decision, “When the business made a comeback with a new team and direction, we put RUN 263 to the side assuming it was time for a new beginning. We’d constantly get enquiries about RUN 263 and all signs pointed to there still being a demand for it. We even saw other brands make rip offs of it and that informed our decision to bring it back.”
The Mazimoto Capsule is a unique take on the current wave of Zimbabwean urban culture. “Our Capsule does its best to capture the urban Zimbabwean zeitgeist (German word meaning spirit of time) in a way that is unique to QMCV’s design philosophy,” alludes Madziva.
The new collection seeks to appeal to urban youths across the socioeconomic divide, regardless
of background. Madziva believes we are all more similar than we’d like to think. He declares, “The inspiration behind having a wider appeal stems from the understanding that our stories, whether uptown or downtown, are more similar than they are different and that both experiences can be represented in the same way through our brand of streetwear.”
The Mazimoto Capsule seeks to add a swagger to being unapologetically Zimbabwean, going beyond slapping the colours of our national flag or a Zimbabwean bird on a garment and calling it a day. Each design does more than tell a story, it seeks to evoke an emotion, whether its the bravado of RUN 263 or the resolve of Hatisi Kutambira Zvichemo even the pride of being from North or South Samora.
“Our hope is to have these t-shirts add a spring to your step knowing that you’re making a statement in every room you enter before saying a single word, backed by sleek, contemporary design that’s only exclusive to us,” beams Madziva.
This release is a bold statement of intent for QMCV, having been on a hiatus mainly due to the untimely death of co-founder Michael Mupeti in 2014. The loss of a business partner took a toll on Madziva, which prompted him to take a break. He narrates, “Well, in 2014, my business partner, co-founder and chief designer of the business, Michael Mupeti, sadly passed away and the whole business operation was in limbo for a while. His death had an adverse effect on me professionally and personally.”
He has since bounced back, and we’re here for it! The best way to honour Mupeti’s legacy is to keep QMCV alive, and keep contributing to the Zimbabwean urban culture story.
For time being, QMCV is producing tees only, and they’ll expand their range in due time. As for now, let’s bask in the Mazimoto Capsule. Madziva confirms, “For now, we’re only producing t- shirts but with enough time and preparation, we should be rolling out caps, bucket hats and shorts soon.”
Madziva confirmed that QMCV was interested in working with the new generation of urban culture creatives, just like the in old days. “And yes, we’re still very keen on working with hip hop acts, which you should see once we get our more elaborate content plan going,” he alludes.