Matipa Mutsemi's EnnYe retail store takes African Fashion to the heart of the USA

New Retail Shop, EnnYe, Offers Unique African Fabric Clothing and Accessories in Downtown St. Petersburg

US-based Zimbabwean entrepreneurs Matipa Mutsemi and Mercy Nyamangwanda have opened EnnYe, a retail shop specializing in clothing and accessories made with authentic African fabric, in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. 

EnnYe Offers Unique African Fabric Clothing and Accessories in Downtown St. Petersburg

The visionary behind EnnYe is Matipa Mutsemi, an accomplished entrepreneur hailing from Zimbabwe, who, in addition to her clothing line, has also created the renowned makeup brand, EnnYeEthnic Cosmetics.

In an interview with a local news site, St. Pete Rising, Mutsemi expressed her passion for fashion and her deep appreciation for vibrant prints, particularly those associated with her African heritage. She revealed, however, that during her upbringing, there was a prevalent preference for Western fashion trends, such as jeans and baggy shirts, heavily influenced by American television and music videos from the 1990s.

Matipa Mutsemi's EnnYe retail store takes African Fashion to the heart of the USA
Matipa Mutsemi

Mutsemi's journey to the United States began in 2001 when she pursued her studies at Southern Methodist University in University Park, Texas. Living abroad intensified her longing for her cultural roots, despite the challenges her home country faced at the time due to political and economic instability.

She explained, "The longer I stayed away from home, the more I yearned to reconnect with my heritage."

Although Mutsemi initially pursued a finance major, it wasn't until 2016, after completing her finance degree and gaining professional experience at Ernst & Young, that she finally introduced the EnnYe brand to the world. Subsequently, in 2008, she embarked on a transformative journey by enrolling in law school at the University of Miami, a decision that significantly influenced her career trajectory.

Mutsemi fondly reminisced about her time in Miami, emphasizing the city's vibrant and expressive atmosphere. She found the freedom to be herself inspiring, which ultimately shaped the unique style she developed for EnnYe—a fusion of modern fashion with traditional African prints and designs.

"When I started, I created pieces that I would personally love to wear, whether for work or casual outings," Mutsemi shared.

During her visits to Zimbabwe to see her parents, Mutsemi often brought back fabrics or had clothing items custom-made by local artisans. She even learned how to sew and crafted garments herself if necessary.

African prints hold a deep historical significance, representing the diverse cultures and traditions of numerous tribes spanning centuries. These prints served as a means of communication and, at times, held symbolic value as currency. However, Mutsemi respectfully acknowledged that certain prints, considered sacred or reserved for royalty or notable individuals within society, were off-limits for her creations.

Addressing the issue of cultural appropriation, Mutsemi expressed her openness to customers from non-African backgrounds purchasing and wearing her clothing, as long as their intentions were genuine and respectful.

She clarified, "The problem arises when someone outside the culture solely aims to profit from African fabric without truly understanding or appreciating its significance. However, when individuals share a genuine connection to the culture, I see no issue. If someone buys a dress from here and wears it with respect, say, to brunch, I believe there is nothing wrong with that. It becomes problematic only when it's used without permission or for purposes beyond its intended meaning."

EnnYe offers a wide selection of clothing and accessories, showcasing prints from various regions of Africa. However, Mutsemi revealed that a significant portion of the collection would feature designs primarily from Zimbabwe and other southern African nations, reflecting her intimate familiarity with those styles. Approximately half of the items sold in the store will be handmade by Mutsemi herself, while the rest will be crafted by talented artisans in Zimbabwe, providing them with valuable employment opportunities.

Regarding EnnYe's accessory collection, Mutsemi takes pride in offering intricately designed handmade jewelry made from imported wood from Zimbabwe. From necklaces and earrings to bangles, each piece is a unique work of art due to the nature of the crafting process.

Enjoyed reading this entertainment news report? Support Greedysouth by buying the team a cup of coffee. Your support assists in the production of such quality reports. Thank you.

Mungwadzi Godwin

twitterinstagramI like sharing positive stories about Zimbabweans at home and abroad. I also write articles on Personal Finance, Fashion, Music, and Tech. Let's connect!

Post a Comment (0)
Previous Post Next Post