“It was always my dream to be a designer and own a clothing brand and trade internationally.”
Petreace Muzerengwa is the founder and executive director of the fashion house PETREACE.
PETREACE, which means noble, is a clothing brand that trades internationally, including the USA, Australia, and Europe. The clothing brand produces in bulk, making high-end clothing for men, women and children. The products are mainly bridal wear, haute couture evening wear, and ready-to-wear smart casual. This is Petreace’s story:
I started designing at the age of 5 when I was taught by my mother how to knit jerseys [sweaters]. My mother was well-known for knitting baby wear and school jerseys and she decided to train me as she saw the eagerness to learn from her young daughter.
I started by making jerseys for my dolls and developed the talent to knitting jerseys and clothes for myself and siblings by the age of 9.
Unfortunately, my mother passed away [when I was 10] and it was a very difficult time for me. I lost my mentor and comforter.
For a little while, the dreams I had were shattered. It was a very difficult time for me, but my brothers encouraged me not to lose hope and to keep dreaming big, and at the age of 14, I was determined. I decided on my career path, which was to build a global fashion brand/business and to inspire other young women and girls through my success.
During college, I would make clothes and bags for other students and I raised money to buy a domestic [sewing] machine. My brother, believing in my vision, bought me a domestic over-locker.
Soon after college I created my own clothing brand with no capital at all but just my little domestic sewing machine and domestic over-locker. The company was a one-man company at first. Now we have a workshop factory and a fashion boutique/bridal shop exporting our products around the world.
PETREACE has sponsored a variety of shows and projects which includes the NAMA awards and modelling shows such as Miss Deaf Zimbabwe, Miss Albinism Zimbabwe, among others, to promote young ladies in what they do.
We also won an honorary award for supporting local models in Zimbabwe and an exceptional award for being the first fashion brand to showcase at the Harare International Carnival.
The challenges I faced mainly to grow my business [were] lack of capital and bullying from the community.
People looked down on me because I made clothes, and my business was labelled cheap and of low class. People would call me names from barbarian [to] miss tailor and would tell me to look for an office job because I was too young [to be] a designer and sewing.
I overcame all challenges by staying focused and believing in my dream. The vision kept me going and keeps me going.
When people call you names, prove them wrong with your success. There is no job less important than the other. All you need is to show the world that you can become what you want if you work hard because it was not easy to get where I am today.