‘The business of film production, casting must be on point’


When we watch video productions, films, music videos or even adverts, there are so many things we just take for granted.

So much goes on pre and post- production.

You would have to actually have to study film or be a part of a production to have an understanding of the enormity of the business of video productions.

For a film to be good, casting must be on point.

But, for the characters to be believable their looks also play a big part.

A character has to look the part and this is a responsibility of a film wardrobe stylist also known as a costume designer.

Sabina Mutsvati, a renowned costume designer’s life changed when she designed a dress for Sister Flame which she wore for a performance at the Harare International Film Festival.

The dress was so spectacular that internationally celebrated writer Tsitsi Dangarembga took notice and encouraged her to consider studying costume design.

As there were no schools that offered such training, she had to do most of the training on set.

Mutsvati designed costumes for music videos for Dudu Manhenga and Cindy Munyavi.

Thereafter, she moved onto films, theatre productions and adverts.

The role of a costume designer is similar to that of a fashion designer.

Costumes must adhere to the specific requirements of the narrative.

A costume designer has to make sure that every garment is perfect in its setting and in cementing a character’s identity.

Costumes also play a significant role in telling the story. A sad scene should have sombre shades and a happy scene the opposite.

Costume designing involves being family with every detail of the film like era and location. The job involves assisting the actors to understand in depth the characters they play.

According to Mutsvati, to be a costume designer one needs to be able to sketch designs and some knowledge on garment cutting and design goes a long way.

“To be a costume designer you have to have the ability to translate a colleague’s vision into reality. It’s more of a collaborative creative process. Intricate knowledge of fabrics is also necessary and base knowledge is a must,” she said.

Mutsvati holds a National Diploma in Fine Art and a National Certificate in Applied Art and Design from Harare Polytechnic.

In addition to this, she also holds a Diploma in modelling.

 Working with a wide variety of materials; she does not limit herself to just fabrics as she works with found objects giving them a whole new appeal.

Her work strongly touches on recycling and environmental awareness.

Known for her ecstatic fashion designs, she has a number of fashion shows under her belt.

She has worked on many productions including Econet adverts, Zambezi News 2015, the theatre production of Harvest of thorns, The Team (A television series) just to mention a few.

Mutsvati loves designing clothes and is excited to face the challenges and opportunities that will come her way as the years go by.

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