Riso Jeradi: Reflecting the Power of Women through Fashion
Zimbabwe’s fashion industry can definitely benefit from better days. Its development is at a stage where it still needs improvement but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of brands that are shaking the industry up with incredible work despite facing tough times. Riso Jeradi is a classic example of a “lily that has bloomed in the valley”. Although it exists in a tough setting, it has come out strong, demonstrating that there is no limit to what hard work and perseverance can achieve.
Riso Jeradi is an ethical clothing brand that specialises in crotchet and fabric pieces. It was founded in 2019 by Chantelle Jeradi who is also the head designer. Chantelle has a background in Marketing. Chantelle started the brand with the aim of creating a tailored experience for women, by creating designs that are flattering for every shape, height and size. Ultimately the vision was to create clothing that made women feel comfortable and confident in who they are, through collections of locally-made pieces that are timeless and well-tailored. Riso Jeradi soon established relevance in the Zimbabwean fashion industry, since it was filling a gap that existed due to the insufficiency of local brands that paid attention to client’s needs while producing clothes of prime standard fitting every body shape and size.
Riso Jeradi being a brand that specialises in women’s clothing, the customer is always QUEEN for them. The raving reviews that the brand has on its social media pages are testament to the quality of their work. However, the quality associated with this brand was not an overnight job. It is the result of passion, dedication, attention to detail, uniquely made garments, influence (something Chantelle Jeradi has mastered) and exceptional customer service. Furthermore, the brand sources all its materials locally, creating a truly Zimbabwean product. All the pieces in the Riso Jeradi collection have vernacular Zimbabwean names that speak to empowerment of women.
As such, the brand prides itself in making women feel empowered through its pieces, and this is evident in how their attitude and demeanour changes once they put on the designs. Riso Jeradi gets satisfaction from seeing women’s faces light up as they rock the brand’s designs. Through such rewarding work, Riso Jeradi’s team has managed to expand from having only 2 members who were skilled in creative designing and pattern making at inception, to having 5 full time employees to date. The brand has also gone on to open up deliveries to South Africa, and is currently working on world-wide shipping. As we head towards winter, Riso Jeradi is currently working on its winter line “CHANDO2021” which will be released on the 20th of May 2021.
Despite recording notable successes in its journey, Riso Jeradi has also had its fair share of challenges. The economic instability in Zimbabwe meant that the purchasing power of people was greatly diminished. Riso Jeradi had to ensure that its clothing was worth investing in. this prompted them to ensure the tailored quality in every crochet stitch, every French seam, every gather and pleat. The brand ensures that it uses the best quality of fabric and that its branding and purchasing is a pleasurable experience. Another challenge Riso Jeradi faced was the inconsistency in raw material suppliers, one minute they have stock, the next they don’t and are unsure as to when or if they will stock certain inputs again. This made Riso Jeradi expand its suppliers and also be innovative in terms of the designs and concepts it creates.
Riso Jeradi and the COVID-19 Pandemic
“COVID-19 was definitely a setback for us, our country went into total lockdown for the most part of 2020 and most of 2021, which meant everything stopped. Even if clients wanted to place their orders, we just did not have the resources to execute. This was very disheartening and set us back quite a bit. It also meant people were holding on to every income they had because of the uncertainty that COVID-19 brought.” –Chantelle Jeradi
Strategies or changes you’ve had to make to adapt to the new normal
“We had to start visiting clients to take measurements and do fittings, some clients are not yet comfortable to travel so we had to travel to them at a premium price. Fittings and measurements are so vital especially for Riso Jeradi because we set ourselves apart because of our mantra, “Tailored””
Riso Jeradi’s perceptions on the future of African fashion industry
“African fashion is alive and thriving! We were the past, are the present and will be the future. The world of fashion is hugely influenced by Africa, our vibrant colours, unique silhouettes, prints etc. We need to ensure that we serve our people first, as Riso Jeradi we are here to serve the African, we know you are the origins of fashion and we want to cater to you.
We have positioned ourselves in the sense that each piece, whether it is a handmade crochet piece or a Riso Basic, has been made with the wearer in mind, not down to a standard or average sizing, length, etc. but down to the unique individual who has placed that order. We want you to know that as soon as you have contacted us and placed your order, our journey with you has only just begun. Your order is completely in your hands, how long, how short, how fitting, and how snug. We want the aspect of tailoring to be at the forefront along with quality.” –Chantelle Jeradi
To view more of Riso Jeradi’s collections, visit:
Whatsapp: +263 776 157 961