“Downtown Harare evokes people’s emotions”, says fashion blogger and rising #MotherlandMogul Chiedza Mahere. Chiedza is the woman behind Diary of a Smurf Dinkie. Despite the fact that she started blogging without a solid plan, Chiedza is the Zimbabwean International Women’s Award (ZIWA) Blogger of the Year 2016.
It’s no secret that at SLA, we love Beyoncé but Chiedza Mahere’s actual person is Solange. Believe it or not, Solange inspired Chiedza to start her blog and establish her brand. Diary of a Smurf Dinkie is a thrifter’s heaven, through the blog Chiedza reveals the (affordable!) fashion gems that can be found in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Using social media, Chiedza has expanded her website to include a store and is now making moves to become a stylist. And guess what’s also really cool? Chiedza works for/with her boyfriend! Of course, she shared tips from her experience below.
Tell me about yourself and what you love…
I am Chiedza Mahere, I am 26. I love fashion, clothes, I love shopping and I love to see people happy. Clothes reflect what a person’s feeling on that day.
On a gloomy day you’ll see me wearing all black. Then on a happy day you’ll see me wearing all sorts of colours because it evokes my emotions. It happens lots, it’s just that people hardly notice what’s really going on. Clothes were made for feeling.
Tell us about what inspired your blog
You know Solange Knowles? That’s my actual person! After listening to her first album 5 years back, I introduced her to everyone I knew. They’d ask, “Who is she and what’s she all about? Oh, Beyoncé’s sister!” She was never just Solange. I felt a deep connection to Solange not only because I loved her music and had a passion for fashion just like her but because I could relate. I was always Tari’s sister, so I understood exactly how she must have felt.
Everyone had been telling me to start a blog but I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t feel comfortable, I was a size 16 then, much bigger than I am now. I didn’t like the idea of having something made just for me because I couldn’t fit in the sizes the clothes came in. It wasn’t until I listened to Solange’s second album that I thought, she really is growing. People were starting to identify her as an individual and not just as Beyoncé’s sister anymore. She was breaking the mould and I wanted the same thing. It was time for my blog.
During a discussion with Zash, my boyfriend, he told me different clothes reminded him of the city, —downtown to be exact. Downtown Harare evokes people’s emotions, it makes them think their parents would have worn jeans like this; their grandmother probably would have worn a dress just like this and been in this exact place. So I decided I’d mix designer pieces like a Haus of Stone dress with thrifted shoes or a thrifted belt. We did our first photo-shoot in the city, I had no idea it would be that big, everyone loved it.
I decided that Diary of Smurf Dinkie is only going to be in the city, it doesn’t matter which city just downtown. I can’t wait to do a shoot in downtown Cape Town. People neglect the downtown part of their cities, Zash and I want to show that downtown a beautiful place.@smurfdinkie believes downtown Harare evokes people’s emotions, even in fashion Click To Tweet
What is does blogging mean to you?
Blogging’s like a little magazine you can draw inspiration from but you don’t have to buy because it’s online. Blogging helps me express who I am, how down to earth I am and how I want to inspire women to be confident in their own skin. I don’t do the typical upper class look, I like old school clothes because I want you to feel like you aren’t pressured to be something you’re not or wear something that you can’t afford especially because we are young.
My blog shows that you can go to Mbare, Avondale Flea Market and get a top for 50c and a dress for $5.
My blog lets you know about the joys of thrifting, what’s hot at the moment and about what people are working on so that you discover local fashion designers in Zimbabwe and support them.
How did you fall in love with thrifting?
During our time in Botswana, my mom and I went to the mall one day, I didn’t feel like going into Mr. Price so I went straight into the second hand store next door. As I walked into the store, I saw a real pretty dress, similar to one I had when I was 6. This dress was orange and had daisies on it, my mom used to call me Daisy because she said the daisy was almost like the sun. My name “Chiedza” which means light, represented the sunshine I brought into her life. The dress was only 10pula, I was 11 years old at the time and and I fell in love with thrifting then.
When we moved back to Zimbabwe, my mom’s friend asked me if I wanted to tag along, she was going to Mbare. I didn’t know what that was because I hadn’t grown up here, she told me it was a ‘musika’, a market where they sold everything from building material to clothes, I was so excited. We got there and I went punk, I was so excited to find a pair of original Calvin Klein jeans. You get all these cool things that no one else is going to be wearing.Through Diary of a Smurf Dinkie, Chiedza Mahere highlights Zimbabwean fashion designers Click To Tweet
So your love for thrifting yielded a blog and you recently won a Zimbabwean International Women’s Award (ZIWA) for Blogger of the year. How does that make you feel and why do you think you won?
I don’t know why I won! The great thing about blogging is I get to meet so many people that I never knew I was going to meet. The internet really is a small community because everybody’s connected to somebody. People saw my efforts and thought it authentic because it shows our home.
Most Zimbabweans my age that are overseas haven’t been home for almost 10-15years. They love my blog because they get to see the city, they get to see the parts that they remember going shopping with their moms, dads and grandparents. Apparently I’m bringing something that no else is bringing, which I still don’t understand because I see other blogs with pictures taken in the city.
I went into this thing blind, so winning this award was mind-blowing! I had no idea it was going to be such a big deal!
How will this award help you grow?
My dad’s my biggest fan and he asked me this. To be quite frank, I think this award gives me so much exposure.
It’s the start of something new, it means a lot to me because I want to start styling.
It gives people more confidence to call me up and say they need a dress. It will definitely bring attention from designers all over, regionally and even overseas.