As a fellow Zimbabwean, when I read about Adel Kaseke’s story on social media, and how she was taking Hollywood by storm I knew I had to get in contact with her and find out more about her amazing story. Adel Kaseke is a Zimbabwean designer who is based in the United Kingdom and she is the founder of the Clothing Line Curvy Swan.
As the name suggests, Curvy Swan is all about the elegance and showcasing the beauty of women of all different shapes and sizes. In addition to her other accomplishments, Adel also entered the Guinness World Records in February 2014 for making the world’s the largest corset.
Tell us a little bit about yourself; where did you grow up and go to school, and when did you realize that you had a passion for designing and making clothes?
My name is Adel Kaseke I am a mother of two and currently live in the United Kingdom but I was born in Harare Zimbabwe. I went to boarding school at Nhowe Mission and I completed my A level at CCOSA college in Harare. My passion for making clothes was realized when I was growing up as my grandfather was a dressmaker and so was my mother. My mother inherited his sewing machine and she later passed it down to me.
What motivated you to create this clothing line Curvy Swan?
The curvy women of the world motivated me to create Curvy Swan as I noticed that in terms of clothing we curvy girls usually get the short end of the stick. Often we get the ugly clothes or the ugly section in the shops. With my label Curvy Swan I wanted to make elegant and trendy clothes for Curvy women like myself and I wanted to make clothes that celebrated the beauty of curvy women as well as their shape. I noticed a gap within the market in terms of clothes for curvy women and had the idea to make my own line.
3.What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your own clothing line and what advice can you give to those trying to make it in the fashion industry?
One of the greatest hurdles I faced when starting my business was money. I think this is a hurdle most entrepreneurs encounter when they first start out. When I started my business I had to use personal funds that I had acquired from a previous hairdressing business ; I also had to take out loans to finance my business. Pursuing my business was a difficult because although I had the talent, and skill I lacked most of the funding I needed. My big break came in 2014 when I applied for government funding and was granted a large amount of money to pursue my business. This money helped me to increase my inventory as well as to buy machines to make my clothes.
My advice to those trying to make it in the fashion industry it is important to learn what is happening around you. Before embarking in the fashion industry market research is necessary, and also to know who you would like to design for. Once you have done this and made these considerations when making your garments, make them with love, and make each garment as if it is the last one you will ever make. This is how I work so that’s my advice to those who want to be fashion designers and make it in this business
4. When you got in contact with Hollywood actress Brely Evans and you sent her some of your samples what was going through your mind? Can you tell our readers a little more about how this all happened?
I have been admiring Brely Evans since her role in Sparkle in 2012 and when I saw her in her dress on the red carpet for the premiere I loved it. This was during the first days of launching Curvy Swan and I actually designed and wore a dress that was inspired by her red carpet look. She had been on my mind for a long time since then. I connected with Brely through her people and it was a surreal experience. It is one thing to see celebrities and admire them from afar but being in contact with one and speaking to them directly is a very different experience. I sent Brely about six pieces and she has worn some of these pieces in her upcoming movies and showcased them on her social media. Brely and I are still in contact and she has become like a mentor to me. I admire her for her humble and sweet spirit.
Designing the dress for Brely opened many doors for me. After designing Brely’s dress I made contact with another Hollywood actress Deja Dee. Although, Deja Dee and Brely are friends I made contact with Deja Dee through a different channel. However, I think in the world of Hollywood when you know one person it helps with getting to know others in the industry.
5.What does the future hold for Curvy Swan are you planning to expand to North America and beyond? Can our readers except to see your clothes in store soon or online for delivery to North America?
Currently we are shipping our clothes to Europe and all over the world. We are also in many boutiques around the world. I am hoping to expand Curvy Swan to new locations around the world so people in North America should look out for us soon.
6. At SAYASPORA we are interested in the unique experiences of women in the diaspora and the different narratives from women all around the world. Describe what womanhood means to you.
I think womanhood is about seeing beauty in me and others. I call myself a beautiful woman not because of physical attributes but if I call myself this then the beauty within will exude to the outside, and to others. Loving myself and appreciating myself helps me to inspire others. I also think womanhood is about passion. As mothers we leave our passion to our children and as businesswomen we give our passion to our clients. I also believe that womanhood is about determination; being determined to reach your goals and your dreams. When a woman sets her mind to something she will do it and she will finish it. In the words of Beyoncé, “girls run the world”.
For more about Adel and Curvy Swan please visit her Instagram: @curvyswanbyadel, Facebook : Adel Kaseke and visit her website : curvyswan.com.