Pearl Thusi, Nomzamo Mbatha, Boity, Pearl Modiadie, Minnie Dlamini...
These are just a few of everyone's favs who are fans of the Durban design house founded in 2009 by head designer Zama Mathe. At the recent Metro FM Music Awards some of our favourite looks, won by the likes of Pearl Modiadie and Nomzamo, were all by Zarth Designs. We got in touch with them to find out more about the brand, dressing celebrities, and the cost of looking fab in one of their creations.
Tell us about Zarth Design's brand ethos.
Zarth’s mission is to create gowns that magnify a woman’s femininity by combining exquisite materials, delicate laces and intricate workmanship. We are always looking for resources that better communicate and celebrate the essence of a woman and womanhood.
Who is your customer?
The Zarth woman is independent in thought, as she is in action. She is affluent, diligent and modern whilst maintaining her traditional values. She appreciates quality, creativity and convenience, especially in her look. She seeks garments that portray her individualism, but maintain a form of sophistication and poise. She truly is a force to be reckoned with.
You seem to have a large celebrity clientele. How much has it really impacted your business to have famous faces wearing Zarth on the red carpet?
We have been lucky in that the client relationships we have built over the years have continued to bring us business way after the fact. Being seen as the designer of choice for women in the limelight has a lot of bearing on the Zarth brand and reputation. It is a testament to the quality, creativity and popularity of our work, for which we are ever so grateful. We feel an obligation towards all our clientele to continue to produce outstanding work because it is through their support that we are where we are.
How do you decide whether or not to dress a celebrity, or do you dress anyone that comes to you?
We usually approach women whose personal and business brand aligns with that of Zarth. It’s important to us that the celebrity echoes our values, is a leader amongst her peers and is an inspiration to young women. Women who are trailblazers in their respective industries and are passionate about their work – those women epitomise the Zarth woman we all aspire to be.
What is the average cost of a Zarth Designs gown?
Well, the price of our gowns varies widely as the costs involved cannot be predetermined. We have had brides with a budget of R 18 000, and others willing to spend as much as R50 000 per gown. We are in a unique position to create dream gowns that reflect each and every bride’s unique beauty at a price that is within her means.
One would assume you also get a lot of business around Durban July season? How much would you say, on average, your customers spend for such events?
The Durban July is always so much fun as we find that clients are willing to be more experimental, bold and creative. On average, they spend about R10 000 or more on their outfit.
If I can't afford to pay off a dress in one go, do you have price plans for a customer like myself, should I want to wear one of your creations?
Unfortunately we do not have standard payment plans, however we do approach every client as an individual and always attempt to cater to all their special needs and requirements. In the rare case that a client has been unable to pay off their dresses, we have made special arrangements for monthly payments to be done.
All images: Simon Deiner/SDR, from Durban Fashion Fair 2016