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Denise Mulenga

Den-Shé Urban Wear
Sector
Fashion
Year Selected
2011
Age at Selection
16
Country
Zambia
Denise Mulenga has always felt most comfortable expressing her ideas and emotions through art and music. As a child, she would imagine herself on stage, performing music for large crowds – and would visualise herself in different outfits that suited the mood of the song that she was singing. She went on to sketch hundreds of outfit designs, and by the time she was 11 she was experimenting with colors and different pieces of clothing.

At age 16, Denise decided to show sixty of her sketched designs to her parents, with the idea of potentially showcasing them at a fashion show. Impressed, her parents helped her bootstrap the show, and Denise’s label, Den-Shé Urban Wear, was born. Denise worked with a tailor to create the designs she had envisioned: colourful, funky, urban designs that young people would love to wear. The fashion show attracted considerable attention from the Zambian media, who hailed her as the youngest fashion designer in the country’s history. Within a few weeks, Denise had attracted over fifty customers to her label, with an average of over two pieces of clothing per customer.

Since Denise’s selection as an Anzisha Fellow, she started University in London, however, decided to take a gap year after one year of studies to launch a second venture in fashion. She is currently based in South Africa.

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