Farai Simoyi, Fashion Designer
When Zimbabwean fashion designer, Farai Simoyi first moved to New York City, she was hired as a Senior Denim Designer for House of Dereon, the clothing line by mega-artist,and her mother, Tina Knowles. Simoyi recalls one day, standing on the 17th floor of a building in Times Square, the heart of Manhattan and having an epiphany;”look at how far I have come and how much I have accomplished; I am a Zimbabwean designer on the designfor Beyonce’s clothing line and my parents were raised in huts in, Africa,”she said, awed by the trajectory of her life.
Fast forward to today, the London-born, Zimbabwean-raised and American-educated fashion prodigy is the Senior Designer for Nicki Minaj ‘s fashion collection , which is available exclusively through. Much like her boss Nicki Minaj, the only woman on the FORBES’ Hip Hop Cash Kings list (since 2011) who once a Forbes contributor, “I am not going to fall back from something because it’s never been done before by a woman,” Simoyi’s foray into fashion took the same tone and tenacity.” Building my ownfashion label from scratch has been a major challenge on it’s own, but building a brand in one of the most unstable industries is even tougher,”said the Zimbabwean fashion designer, “but I don’t see myself doing anything else,” she emphasized, resolutely.
I caught up with the rising fashion mogul before the whirlwind of Fall 2015 New York Fashion Week which opened yesterday, to talk about her work on the Nicki Minaj collection, the business of fashion and building her own fashion brand, ‘Farai’.
FARAI GUNDAN: New York Fashion Week Fall 2015 is upon us! What should we expect on the runway this season from your fellow designers? What are the trends for the 2015 Fall/Winter season?
FARAI SIMOYI: Grays, blues, black, & white showcasing as primary colors with pops of bright colors. Details and embellishments are coming to the front of the garment with tie front tops and dresses with front zipper and button closures. Silhouettes are looser, offering easy fits with slight inspiration taken from men’s wear. Culottes are making a comeback and tonal prints are making a major statement.
Congratulations on your role as Senior Designer for the Nicki Minaj collection! How did the opportunity as Senior Designer come about for you to work with a major Grammy-award winning artist like Nicki Minaj? Could you also give us some insight into your work as Senior Designer for Nicki Minaj Collection?
SIMOYI: Thank you Farai! The opportunity for me to work for the brand was through a relationship that turned into a close friendship. I am a firm believer in industry relationships, networking, and staying connected with former bosses and colleagues via Linkedin or through email.There is a misconception that working in fashion is glamorous on one end and menial on the other end. It is a beautiful combination of a lot of hard work and big rewards. As Senior Designer for the Nicki Minaj collection, I have a responsibility each season to ensure that the entire line that we design and produce, reflects the true aesthetic of the brand as envisioned by Nicki Minaj. This not only includes apparel, but also outerwear, swim, jewelry, bags, sunglasses, and hats.