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ZamZam started in my living room in Cape Town with a desire to make clothes that I wanted but could not find anywhere. Cape Town, as a hub for textile manufacturing and distribution in Southern Africa, boasts a vast array of available Dutch wax fabric, which prompted the whole experiment from its inception.

I started off making reversible jackets with bold clashing patterns and colours that were meant to be a statement piece as opposed to daily wear. I soon found however, that the range of opportunities to wear them was far larger than I initially expected. In addition to this, the number of compliments and requests I encountered whenever I wore them really pushed me to think about taking them into serious production. A few days before COVID derailed all of our lives, I had the first photoshoot in partnership with established local, female owned brands, Pichulik jewellery and Margot Molyneux clothing beautiful classic silhouettes with a modern take.

The name ZamZam actually came from my cat, who happens to be the most curious and naughty animal I have ever encountered. Her way of looking at the world as a potential plaything and continuous adventure inspired me to take the same approach with my fabric combinations. The word itself is Arabic and comes from the name of a stream in the desert around Mecca, unearthed by the kicking heels of a thirsty baby as its mother frantically searched for water. Oddly enough, ZamZam the cat was the most aquaphile feline imaginable and so truly embodied that element of her name. To me, the story represents an explosion of life as a result of an unconscious action in the search for something. The brand is very much that and all about the celebration of life, colour, fertility, bounty and the uniquely feminine expression of these things.

The clothing is intended to be a marriage between the traditional vibrant patterns and colours of African prints with a modern wearability beyond those more well known uses and wearers. All of the fabrics I use and 100% natural fibres and so are breathable and easy to care for. They are so versatile and so can be worn with almost anything. I myself have worn them to weddings, an evening out, a club, the ballet, picnics in the park, interviews and meetings as well as just to the shops. Each jacket is one of a kind and handmade, so is a piece of wearable art in addition to all of those other things.

Photographer: Athi Maq
Stylist: Tamryn Bruinders
Art Direction: Sara Ojembarrena
Hair and Makeup: Thandi Steenkamp
Models: Taali M and Jomari Jordaan

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