By Sarah Dion-Marquis
Photography by Maximilian Engel
Paidemoyo Chideya is the kind of person you don’t meet every day or every year.
She’s a successful designer with a law degree, who also studied at the Parsons The New School for Design in Paris and New York.
“That’s [quite] a bit of schooling,” as she puts it. “A long list of people trained me to have a very [good], classic eye for fashion.”
Chideya spent 10 years designing for Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein in New York, as well as Rockstar Sushi in Los Angeles. She came back to Canada in the summer of 2010 to be closer to her family. She was also looking for a new challenge, so Chideya developed her first clothing brand, DeMoyo, which means ”from the heart” in her mother tongue, Shona. DeMoyo is just under one-year-old.
“For people to say my full first name, Pai DeMoyo, is quite challenging, so I decided to break it up a little bit,” says Chideya.
Chideya is originally from Zimbabwe, but raised in Sweden. She also lived in Paris and London. Currently, she works and lives in Ottawa during the week, even though her design studio is based in Toronto. Chideya comes to Toronto once every two weeks. She says she usually designs at home in Ottawa in the evenings, and that she doesn’t have to be in Toronto to do so. Chideya adds that her decision not to set a boutique in the National’s Capital, which according to her is more a governmental town than a fashion one, is paying off.
Though, she admits that living six hours away from her business takes a lot of meticulous planning. Simply put, she has to be really smart about what’s coming her way and be aware of what the customers want in both Toronto and Ottawa.
Chideya’s collection was presented at the Ottawa Fashion Week this fall. It was her third fashion show as a designer.
The first show was mind-bubbling, she explains, noting that her team didn’t really make any big mistakes.
For the second show, her team was about 10 times more ready for anything that could happen. “We had a shoe and jewelry sponsor, our dresses ready, extra models, we had it all,” says Chideya.’
Her clothing has a sense of edge, alertness and clarity in terms of design.
“Quite frankly, you can be a size 2, you can be a size 12, it doesn’t really matter… that’s not what I’m taking into account when I’m designing.”
To wear DeMoyo’s collection, all women need is confidence “to allow the clothes to bring out the woman’s inner perfect beauty.”
Colour is what really inspires her, because it brings a lot of healing, warmth, coolness to people.
“If a woman has a tan skin, for example, and I put indigo or universal blue clothing on her, she just begins to glow.”
The DeMoyo collection is only available online, at Toronto’s ukamaku.com, and New York store sensorfashion.com
Her next show will be in February at Ottawa’s Fashion Week.
A quick peek at the DeMoyo collection
Photos: Ian Compton.