THE FACE BEHIND ZIMROTHSCHILD: 10 QUESTIONS FOR FOUNDER, SUNGA MKWEZALAMBA
We sat down with ZIMRothschild founder, Sunga Mkwezalamba, and asked him 10 questions that we thought you might be interested in knowing the answers to.
7 MINUTE READ
1. WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Malawi, Africa. I moved to the United States in 2001, a short time prior to September 11th, which was a defining time for myself and a lot of young children. I spent my adolescence growing up in Champaign, IL, where I eventually went to undergrad and law school.
A lot of people ask about my name. The pronunciation instruction of my first name is "sue-n-gah". I'll leave the last name for a separate exercise.
2. WHAT IS ZIMROTHSCHILD?
ZIMRothschild is a platform for individuals we identify as "Unicorns". Unicorns are catalysts for the next generation who drive positive change. An example of a Unicorn is an individual tackling world hunger or affordable internet availability in third-world countries. Unicorns are fly—they dress well—they’re trendsetters and jet-setters.
Pictured: ZIMRothschild Gen. 1 Fleece Pullovers
3. WHAT MADE YOU START ZIMROTHSCHILD?
I felt that the market didn't have a brand that truly represented our community. It was difficult to feel seen and identity fellow Unicorns. However, I was inspired to take action when I noted that major brands who had the opportunity to outfit our community, were rooted in aged, racist ideology - so I decided to start ZIMRothschild. At the time, my slogan was, "You Have Options" - which was a call to Unicorns to move from brands that are out-of-touch and don't serve Us.
Pictured: Photos of racially charged products from Gucci, Moncler, and Prada
4. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING IN APPAREL?
I started ZIMRothschild in 2019. However, I have always appreciated fashion and my style.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BRAND?
Other than ZIMRothschild? Penguin. I have a muscular build and tend to wear very formal clothes; Penguin does a good job at making clothes that fit my profile. I also like a growing brand called ORTTU. Like ZIMRothschild, they have built a safe space for a specific demographic and community.
6. WHAT IS THE ONE ESSENTIAL ITEM EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE IN THEIR CLOSET? (WHICH ZIMROTHSCHILD PIECE IS YOUR FAVORITE?)
I joke that I don’t trust a man without a watch. I think there’s something sophisticated and trusting about a good time piece - so a watch is an essential item.
My favorite ZIMRothschild piece is the fanny pack because as a Unicorn I am a jetsetter, and the fanny pack is perfect for someone on the go. I can carry my passport, travel documents, eye drops, lip balm and other essentials in our stylish carry piece.
Pictured: ZIMRothschild Fanny Pack
7. WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?
Myself. I know I was put on this earth for a reason, and I’m inspired to live out my purpose.
8. WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF THE ZIMROTHSCHILD BRAND STYLE?
That’s an interesting question because the idea behind the brand is that it will always evolve to meet our community's interests. Currently, we have a very preppy look, and that's the look that suits our community best.
We put a lot of thought into the style and look--there are no accidents--the colors, feel and overall look are deliberate.
9. WHAT IS ONE SKILL YOU USE EVERY DAY IN YOUR JOB?
Balance. I try to be as balanced as I can in everything. I try not to get too high or too low, and I think this helps me prepare for the next task. I can't work with people who don’t handle stress well, so I try not to be that person.
10. WHAT’S NEXT FOR ZIMROTHSCHILD?
We have a lot in the works for the community, including new looks and accessories. We are also working on getting more touch with Africa, where we have the biggest audience. However, I’m most excited about building a workspace where Unicorns can work on global issues, from poverty to climate change – we want to create a safe space (and offer resources) for Unicorns to meet and be successful in creating positive change.
Bonus: What’s your favorite song?
Young N***a - Nipsey Hustle.