Since DJ Kool Herc hosted that party in Brooklyn in 1973, hip hop and streetwear have been inseparable. Thanks to the internet, hip hop culture has spread worldwide. In Zimbabwe, hip hop culture has grown in leaps and bounds, yet still following the American blue print—streetwear supports hip hop, and vice versa.
It was only right for the Zim Hip Hop Awards to recognise Stars29, the Bulawayo-based streetwear brand that has been diligently supporting Zimbabwean urban culture and the creative industry since 2014.
They have been nominated under the ‘Best Brand Supporting Hip Hop’ category. Stars 29 is the only fashion brand that was nominated; amongst creative direction imprint 3rd World Chronicles, Mutare-based record label Infinity Records ZW, Club Danger at Mashwede Village in High Glen and Voice of Zim Hip Hop.
Speaking to Mcheno&More after the nominees announcement (made on 15 November), Stars29 Creative Director Tino Mufudzi spoke on the influence that hip hop has had on the Stars29 creative process. He explained, “Everything that we are about is influenced by the music that we get from Zim and all over the word. All these different themes that are consumed by different rappers are also the same spirit and character that is communicated through the clothes.”
Mufudzi is still yet to capture the feeling of being recognised by the Zim Hip Hop Awards for the fashion. “I don’t know if it’s an honour or what, but to be nominated at the ZHHA, it’s because of the clothes we create,” he said.
Always about collaboration, Mufudzi sees just the nomination as a win for everybody. He considers it as more of a team sheet, rather than a nominees list. “We appreciate everyone we were nominated with, but we don’t see them as competition. We see them as peers, we learn from each other,” he said.
He added, “It’s no longer about the award, it’s about the coming together of people in fashion, people that deal with fabric, and that deal with music.”
The 2023 edition of the Zim Hip Hop Awards coincides with the fifty year anniversary of hip hop as a cultural movement. They shall be held under the theme ‘Evolution’, alluding to the rapid transformation of Zim Hip Hop from a niched genre to a mainstream movement.
They shall be held on on 15 December, at 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale, Harare. Expect musical performances from Bulawayo legend Asaph, rising stars Bling4 and Kayflow, OCD duo Slyme Foxx and Icey Ekxne, as well as hip hop queens Natasha Muz and Million Millz. Can’t attend? Don’t worry, the event shall be live streamed on the ZHHA Facebook page.
Don’t miss out on this milestone in Zim Hip Hop history. You already know what I’m rooting for—a win for Bulawayo and Zimbabwean streetwear fashion.