Interview with our Zambian Tailor – Rency Malaika

1) What sparked your interest in fashion?
I’ve had an interest in fashion since a young age. As a child, I was always making little changes to outfits – whether it be my own outfits or the outfits that my dolls were wearing.  To me, taking the design/tailoring/styling route was natural for me. Initially, I made my own clothes as I felt that no-one would ever understand what “the perfect fit” is on me the way that I do.
2) What name do you go by?
I go by the name Rency Malaika Designs. Rency is short for Florence, one of my middle names; Malaika is my mother’s maiden name.
3) What made you take tailoring more seriously and make a career out of it?
I got my motivation from people around me and how they loved my style and all the pieces I put together and looked good. I thought of taking it to another level – instead of just dressing myself, I thought of dressing the world.
4) Are you self taught or did you study a tailoring course?
I’m self taught, I started at a very tender age and I’ve been getting better with time and experience.
5) How has your work evolved over the years?
I don’t like sticking to the same ideas, I always want to explore and think outside the box so my designs keep changing. At times I have no idea what I’m going to come up with next, but I feel that when I do, whatever I end up creating is always on point. This has opened up a lot of doors for me.
6) Are there any types of clothing that you avoid wearing?
Yep. Boring clothes.
7) What makes Rency Malaika tailored items different? 
It’s all about adding that extraordinary touch to something that would otherwise be ordinary. I also think that mixing fabrics is a great way to spice up an outfit.
8) What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
The trending world fascinates me. Things are always changing and I try my best to keep up, so I can ensure that my clothing is both on trend and ahead of the trends – this feeds into my tailoring.
9) What is the biggest lesson you have learnt since you became a tailor?
The client always comes first. Proactive communication, helpful advice, and an open dialogue ensures that the clients feel valued and that their needs are satisfied.
10) What advice would you give to budding tailors and entrepreneurs?
Do away with envy and don’t compare yourself to other entrepreneurs. Run your own race, believe in yourselves and have confidence in what you do.
11) Do you think that it truly is time for Africa to compete?
There’s just so much great talent in Africa that needs to be seen by the whole world.
12) What’s your motto?
“Believe in what you do.”
Ligali Ajibola Ayorinde
October 29, 2017

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