Each week we will be highlighting one of the fabulous emerging designers from Phoenix Fashion Week 2017. This week, meet fashion designers Abigail, Mercy and Matipa Nyamangwanda, the Owners of EnnYe Collection. EnnYe Collection is a clothing brand based out of San Francisco, California that creates vibrant prints and modern silhouettes for the contemporary woman out of handpicked African prints.
Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe
First Fashion Job: This is our very first fashion job. We have our own careers that are far from the fashion world (nurses and lawyers), but we love that we can work in the different industries. It keeps us sane, because sometimes we get frustrated with the business side of our brand, like manufacturing problems, delays in the delivery of the materials or quite simply that the designs do not translate into print. We love what we do and quite frankly this doesn’t seem like work to us.
When did you know you had a passion for fashion: From very early in our childhoods we were always experimenting with clothes, from stealing our brothers jeans for the boyfriend look to designing our own clothes. We always wore the clothes that no one else was wearing and we would like to say that we were trendsetters too! There were quite a few disastrous looks along the way too as we were trying to establish our style.
Person who impacted your life the most: Our parents instilled in us the confidence to be ourselves and be comfortable in our own skin. Our father always said “that’s the skin you live in and you have to love yourself and go after what you want.” Our dad is the kind of person who comes here from Zimbabwe for a visit and you will find him going to Starbucks by himself and making friends faster than we do here. He will walk into anyplace without question, he is bar none the most fearless man we know!
Your biggest fashion accomplishment in your eyes: Creating styles and pieces that people buy time and again. It gives us life to hear customers ask when the Sama shift dress is coming in or when the next maxis are coming! We get customers all the time who will call and say that they have an event and would like to wear our outfits. We have brand influencers who are musicians, engineers and moms! Our influencers wear our designs on stage and to baby showers, that’s how diverse and far reaching our brand is.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: Being able to design our own prints has been a godsend. We were having trouble with running out of popular prints before we finished production and there was no way of getting the prints back. Now that we can print our own materials we are in control of the amount available.
A designer who inspires you: We are inspired by JasonWu. He grew up with supportive parents like us and they inspired in him to follow his dreams. He has done extremely well and has remained really humble too.
Favorite Quote: “Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.”
Advice to someone pursuing a career in fashion as a designer: Have thick skin and stick to your vision. You will meet people who will discourage you and try to change your vision, but stay true to who you are and why you are designing in the first place. Find your niche market and perfect your craft. Aspire to always be the best at what you do.
Favorite piece you have designed: This question is hard because it’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is!! We love all our pieces, but if we had to pick one it would be the Circle dress. This piece was a pleasant surprise for us because it fits all body types and can be worn belted or loose. Also the prints we picked for this dress worked so well that it was an instant hit with customers.
For more information about EnnYe Collection and to shop online, visit ennyecollection.com.
If you would like to attend Phoenix Fashion Week 2017, you can purchase tickets here: bit.ly/PHXFW2017FABAZ. Use promo code FABAZ for a $20 gift card good towards any seat (not applicable towards standing room tickets).