Intricate Lifestyle: Zimbabwe’s Own Active Wear Brand
For many years, tight clothing and sky-high stilettos were held in the highest regard when it came to pulling off an amazing look. However, the rise of athleisure has given fashion a new twist, making consumers across the globe fall in love with its ability to simultaneously combine good looks and comfort. The popularity of athleisure has also encouraged African entrepreneurs to show the world that it is possible to look comfortably cool! In Zimbabwe, Intricate Lifestyle is one of the very few brands that was bold enough to deviate from conventional fashion in pursuit of active wear. As most would expect, it was not an easy road, but what is life without taking risks? Fast forward to 2021, the brand has made strides and is now a recognized athleisure trendsetter in Zimbabwe.
Intricate Lifestyle was founded by Dean Hunda, an entrepreneur from Zimbabwe. He grew up in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo before moving to the capital city Harare, in 2018. Fashion is not something that Dean was inclined to from childhood, but an inspiration from his friends. Throughout their interactions, Dean’s friends observed that he had a great sense of style and were convinced that he would be a natural should he venture into fashion. Dean decided to take a risk and try out his hand in the industry – that is how Intricate Lifestyle was born. The brand merges the latest street style and athleisure designs from around the globe, and gives them a personal touch that results in unique designs that appeal to anyone who loves a distinct but no-fuss look! The designs by Intricate Lifestyle can be described as fashion for a future generation, delivered with attitude and style. As a brand, Intricate Lifestyle boasts of quality, diverse and trendy athleisure.
The journey leading to the formation of the active wear brand was not easy. Despite having the support and motivation of his friends, Dean soon discovered that starting and running a business was no easy task. He had to overcome a lot of hurdles in terms of setting up the enterprise. In a developing country with a harsh economy like that of Zimbabwe, thriving in the fashion industry can be a mammoth task, given that the disposable income of many people is generally low. Most people consider basic day-to-day needs, before spending their money on clothes, let alone athleisure. Additionally, running a business in such a volatile environment is constrained by the country’s relatively low ease of doing business. Because of the existence of these many hurdles, Dean considers being finally able to deliver merchandise to the market, as the biggest highlight for Intricate Lifestyle! At some point, he considered giving up after being discouraged by the seemingly insurmountable challenges. However, things eventually worked out and 2018 ended up becoming Intricate Lifestyle’s breakout year. Intricate Lifestyle’s efforts and resilience eventually paid off, and the brand now enjoys a large and growing following, and customer base. As a milestone, the brand has managed to engage a Zimbabwean influencer and rapper to market its brand. This has brought the brand into limelight as the artist has a huge following which resonates with the products of the brand.
Another key feature that has contributed to the growth of Intricate Lifestyle in tough times, is its hands-on approach. All of its designs are done in-house, including garment construction, innovative fabric sourcing, custom printing, signature branding and finishing. As a futuristic brand, the Intricate Lifestyle team constantly pushes boundaries to reach new levels. As a result, they have progressively grown with each new design. Although Intricate Lifestyle operates in an environment where there are a few native brands that focus on athleisure or active wear, it has remained true to its call for innovation, in a manner that enhances street wear.
Intricate Lifestyle and COVID -19
In order to maintain products of high quality, Intricate Lifestyle seeks out the best material from the best suppliers, and therefore most of its material is imported. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, shipping and courier services were suspended at some point. Even after the relaxation of lockdown regulations, it became more expensive to ship material into the country and to ship merchandise to clients. This forced the brand to scale down production. Nevertheless, Intricate Lifestyle adapted and took advantage of the relaxation of lockdown, by launching a new line. The lockdowns also had a silver lining for the brand, in that they gave the team more time to work on the design and creativity side of the business.
“We have been focusing on the creativity and marketing side of the business during this time while we study the economic climate and ways to run a sustainable business in this new environment. Our Sunday Market, Drip Sundays, has also been affected by the lockdown. We, along with other creatives, use this platform to expand our brand exposure, showcase our wares and to engage with customers face-to-face. We have taken this event online, using Instagram and Facebook to recreate the experience virtually but this measure does not compensate for the loss of revenue due to the lockdown and the interaction with our customers, which gives us useful feedback and the joy to continue our work when we see people.” – Dean, founder of Intricate Lifestyle.
The hope for Intricate Lifestyle is for the business to boost its sales once face-to-face interaction resumes. By selling pieces that are reflective of the high level of creativity that the team is investing in its designs during the lockdown period, Intricate Lifestyle is positive that it will be able to push more volumes.
To view more of Intricate Lifestyle’s work, visit www.intricatelifestyle.co.zw