Mugwagwa’s new fashion line touts identity, culture

Mugwagwa infuses colours and designs to raise knowledge of the depth and diversity of cultures that exist in Zimbabwe.

LOCAL fashion designer and founder of the Succille Handcraft brand, Irene Mugwagwa has taken things up the notch with her fashion brand which designs beadwork for every occasion.

Mugwagwa infuses colours and designs to raise knowledge of the depth and diversity of cultures that exist in Zimbabwe.

For her, fashion is a language that speaks of unity and identity. NewsDay Weekender caught up with the fashionista who shared the nuggets of her handcrafting journey.

Brief background

My name is Irene Chiedza Mugwagwa, married to Farai Chauke and I have two daughters.

I did my primary education at Courtney Selous School, then my secondary at St Patrick’s in Gweru. I am an experienced bookkeeper with over 15 years experience.

The handcrafting journey

When I became frustrated with salaries not coming through on time or at all, I began to look for something else I could do that would give me a steady income, so I began my handcrafting journey.

I began with rug making, bottle decor and macramé. When I then learnt how to bead, I knew this was the one, this was five years ago and I have grown since.

After completing my beading course, I then tried to sell my products with little success. The first necklace I sold for US$3 took the buyer three months to pay, but I persisted.


I love being a someone who makes things people have not even imagined, things that blow one’s mind in awe.

I am artistically crazy and dissatisfied with making things that everybody has made. I love setting beautiful “I must have this in my collection” kind of trends or variations of what already has been created.


I do beaded designs and macramé patterns. Fashion means endless creation of possibilities as a stand-alone of fabric and or as a fusion of different artistic things beads, stones, shells and anything.

Culture, heritage and fashion

I want the world as a whole to learn the meanings, traditions, our beliefs and beauty behind our cultural combinations.

When people wear my beadwork, I want them to walk in the confidence that comes with knowing and discovering the wealth in our ancestry and heritage as Zimbabweans.

I want us to know we have an identity that is far beyond the names on our birth certificates.

I also want to popularise the culture and heritage of Zimbabwe by making cultural colour mixes on beadwork that can be worn with your office wear, weekend wear, church wear and look classy with chic for her and cool for him.

Ultimate goal

I am endorsing Ndebele, Shona, Shangaan, Venda and English cultures, but I am still learning about more cultures.

By doing this, I am better able to understand the values and traditions behind different cultures and in turn teach it to my customers and to those who ask about their dressing or whosoever they choose to tell.

When we better understand and embrace each other’s culture, living together harmoniously becomes that much easier.

When we begin to see the beauty behind each tribe’s dressing and meanings, we are then able to see the beauty in each other and our culture-rich country.

Target market

My target market is those below the age of 12 who like learning to make simple jewellery. To those in their teen years associating with Tshaka Zulu is quite popular, hence the Ndebele/Zulu dress code.

It makes them feel strong, relevant and significant, worth noticing. To the older generations as they have greater understanding and revelation on the importance of keeping in touch and not straying far from our ancestry.

Hurdles, vision

I have faced many challenges, some in places I thought there was obvious support and I have received support from places I least expected it.

My vision as a designer is to leave an artistic and financial inheritance for my children’s children.

I want it to be known that Irene Mugwagwa, a beading dreamer, rose from beading for her neighbours to beading for the world.

Collaborations, fashion shows

I have participated in Beautiful Africa Fashion Show held in Malawi in October 2022, the Dubai Expo in 2020 and 2021, Zimbabwe Agricultural Show and Zimbabwe-Tanzania Trade and Investment Forum 2022.

I have also made some of Fungai Muzoroza’s beaded and crystal designs for the Makanaka Fashion Show.

I have recently collaborated with designer Jay T on outfits for Jah Prayzah’s new album launch set for May 12. Pictures are still top secret.

New fashion line

I am working on a beaded furniture line and a still secret handbag line to be unveiled soon.

Most people are used to wearing beaded clothing. My clothes are just beads and yes it is brand spanking new.

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