Designer Bless Fights to Do Good With His Army of Love
Designer Bless Mazarura, founder of Bless by Bless Couture, is devoted to creating meaningful fashion with a positive impact through his philanthropic fashion movement and new line titled “Army of Love.”
“The army, they fight in a physical war, I’m trying to have a war and it’s for love,” said Bless. “The army is the best example of a group of people who come and fight for one mission and they don’t question it, they unify for one reason. And that’s when I said to myself, I’m going to put some military influence in my collection because we have an army of love.”
Bless’ designs are embellished with golden buttons and military stripes and many pieces are a striking passion-red with hints of “love” found in places such as the inside seam of a skirt printed with inspirational words or the peace-sign shaped straps of a cocktail dress. He designs for youthful spirits with large hearts and those who want to spread a positive message while remaining stylish and fashion-forward.
“I am trying to do something that does not exist; fashion is not usually associated with just being totally and completely philanthropic and positive. [Fashion] is sexy, edgy, and it’s almost to the point of being superficial, like nose in the air and sunglasses, so I’m trying to do the opposite but still have it be sexy and edgy,” said Bless.
Bless grew up in the small town of Mutoko in Zimbabwe. He moved to England in his late teens and at age 21 came to America. In his life he has seen the stark contrast of those who have little to nothing to those who may have too much. These observations sparked his desire to recognize the poor farmers who create the materials used in the lavish, expensive fashion world.
“If right now you go to the people who farm cotton and compare that to the people who wear the cotton on the runway in New York it is a completely different world. I want a line that realizes the importance of the people who grow this cotton on this farm and live in poverty,” said Bless. “I take this from living in Zimbabwe where I knew people who were cotton farmers and never owned new shoes, a shirt or pair of pants. Cotton from Zimbabwe is the best cotton in the world so you can only imagine that ends up in some expensive store. I want to bridge that disconnect in terms of caring where fashion comes from.”
Bless’s goal is to open flagship stores in the United States, England and Zimbabwe to connect to the places that influenced him the most. He wants these stores to serve as hubs of information about important causes, where the materials come from and how people can help.
“If I just sit my clothes on a rack in a store where no one understands the mission and the Army of Love then the product is not going to do well because it’s just going to look like another fancy, trendy clothing line. But if it’s in a flagship that has video, brochures, images that express philanthropy and humanitarianism then I think it would thrive. I want to create Flagship stores that are sort of like libraries of information about being fun-loving, caring, stylish and trendy people,” said Bless.
Bless has already worked with organizations such as the Jimmy Fund, Susan G. Komen, American Cancer Association and Christopher’s Haven through fashion show fundraisers and events. He hopes to continue to partner with nonprofits that are creating social impact in the community and recruit more fashion-forward, caring people into his growing and thriving Army of Love.
“The goal of my line is basically to give fashion a voice that is different from what it currently has for a voice. I feel like for the most part right now the voice of fashion screams out ‘superficial,’ ‘social, upper class,’ ‘sophisticated,’ not humble and not positive. It’s more about separating social levels as far as other people being better than others and clothing being more expensive and only available to a few. So I am trying to have a clothing line that can be a voice of fashion but it being caring and loving and embracing of differences in culture and race and color, ethnicity, everything,” said Bless.
To view more designs from Bless by Bless please visit the website. Keep an eye out for the shopping cart capability coming this spring and check out Bless’ new line in his Army of Love look book video (below).