Zimbabwean soul and American cool unite in Bless by Bless’ CambridgeSide fashion pop-up


Models Saruda, Marley and Lorde wear Bless Mazarura’s work, including her “shield” tops, on the roof of her Lowell studio. (Photo: Janna Giacoppo)

Bless Mazarura Blessed by blessed The limited edition ‘Luxury Wardrobe Essentials’ capsule collection is available at a pop-up store in Cambridgeside until the end of the year. Items range from gender-neutral puffers, pure wool blazers, bomber jackets, T-shirts, and blue and black denim and sell for between $ 34 and $ 300.

Among the worthy Newbury Street fashion shelves available since September 13 at the East Cambridge Mall, shoppers can find some of Bless’ favorites: the ‘shield’ tops created at the request of Miami Fashion Week ago. several months, a swimsuit concept that matches with pants or a skirt. (They will be available to the general public next spring.)

At Bless’s studio in Lawrence, a converted old stationery, model Marley stood in early September in front of a mirror wearing a black and gold beaded shield, a blend of architectural strength and delicate detail that epitomizes the often-seen balance of opposites. in the work of Bless. The fabric is dramatically cut in a V front and back with pointed shoulders and open sides, tied together by a silk belt around the rib cage. Bless pairs it with a long asymmetrical skirt with scalloped highlights. Marley looks powerful. Royal. A warrior style, with echoes of Bless’ native Zimbabwe, though many Africans are so heavily westernized that they often won’t know when something is from their own culture, he says.

“The shield was influenced by the way we dress. Because we forgot, ”Bless said.

Looking at the shape of the scalloped beads, he thinks of the pangolin, an animal native to Africa. He points to textures and patterns that indicate an almost accidental subconscious African influence on more of his work than he had realized.

Become Blessed

Bless Mazarura. (Photo: Janna Giacoppo)

Bless grew up in a small village where he “ran barefoot in the bush”. He first encountered his fashion inspirations as a teenager, when his father returned from a trip overseas with VHS tapes of MTV videos from the late ’80s and early’ 90s. the jeans with the spray paint, and like the plaid, with the large pockets and colorful jackets. And I’m like, man, that sounds so cool.

His mother, a tailor in a village where she lived after her parents separated, taught her to copy the looks he coveted. “The next thing you know, I got these, like denim vests with big pockets, very Bell Biv DeVoe. And everywhere people went, where did you get them?”

He was proud to be able to help her, even going so far as to help her thread the needles when her eyes were tired. But he lived with his father after the breakup, and his visits were few. As he grew older, he thirsted for the wasted time that left a “giant empty space” in his heart, and when his mother passed away those childhood memories took on new power. “When I hear the thud of the sewing machine, it’s us. This would be the time when there is no one else there. Just me and my mom.

The way you wear it

Lorde wears Bless by Bless. (Photo: Janna Giacoppo)

These days, Bless says he takes inspiration from the people he sees on the streets – “The only thing I always try to find is style” – but stays poetic about the carefree cool of James Dean, who could do a white T. shirt stand out.

High on everyone’s style list right now should include “a warm blazer,” Bless says, “but whatever you wear, make it feel like you took so long to buy it because. that it is of quality and that it is unique. Then the way you wear it: make it feel like you just jumped in. “

Saruda wears Bless by Bless. (Photo: Janna Giacoppo)

This pretty much describes Lorde, a striking 6-foot-4 model in many Bless campaigns who is in the Lowell studio modeling a gender-neutral, double-breasted navy blue blazer. He paired it with a white button-down shirt, charcoal sweatpants and Y-3 lace-up sneakers for a mix of formal and casual. “Looks like you own the world!” Bless told Lorde.

“I want people to feel special. I want them to say, I’m so special I’m going to have this moment, and I’m going to feel this beautiful, ”Bless says.

Luv’s Army

Army of Luv labels are waiting to be sewn into clothing. (Photo: Janna Giacoppo)

Bless the signature Nonprofit Army of Love the collection includes clothing such as T-shirts, tracksuits and new handbags that carry messages encouraging unity. The line was created to express her belief that love is the most powerful force there is, and her desire to invite people to come together under this belief. This mission of goodwill and kindness extends to Africa: for every $ 250 Bless by Bless earns, a girl or boy goes to school for the year in Zimbabwe. He started by funding the school his mother attended when she was a young girl, but was unable to complete it because her family could not afford it.

Aware of the negative messages that fashion can often send, Bless aims to promote unity and inclusiveness. He created his logo – three lines representing the repeated B in his name and “Bless by Bless” – to be a “tribe” symbol, and he sews it in small details such as the edge of a shirt hem. “We have so much value and individuality, but we can but also teach and learn from each other. We’re all just one giant tribe, ”says Bless.

Bless by Bless walks through Cambridgeside on October 7 for Boston Fashion Week; her winter capsule collection is at the Liberty Hotel in Boston on October 14.

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