In Malawi, complaining about poor service (from tailors especially) may as well be a national past time. Well lovelies, I see your tailoring horror story and raise you mine – an epic tale of dishonesty, incompetence and terrible customer relations.

ZAPEL DESIGNS REVIEW

Location: Ndirande Flats, Blantyre

First off, if you feel like you’ve read the name Zapel on this blog before it’s because I credited the business for the dress I wore in this post. I’ve also worn a dress by Zapel in this post (I borrowed it).

So this review isn’t going to be one where I pretend that Zapel is far out shitty when it comes to design – otherwise why even go there in the first place, right?

This is a story about my experience with Zapel which I can’t resist sharing because of how GAGGED I am by it.

And since you know I love throwing a little flair to stories from the cringe comedy I call my life, this time is no different.

Let’s begin:

Part 1 – Zapel the Scammer

My awful experience with Zapel began back in 2017. I had recently lost a lot of weight and decided to take 3 dresses to be resized at the shop. The owner, erstwhile a casual acquaintance and sister to a good friend, told me in no uncertain terms that resizing the dresses would ruin them.

Taking this to be a credible tip, I accepted her offer to relieve me of the dresses and design me 3 new dresses in exchange.

Imagine my surprise when one of those dresses that I was warned should absolutely not be tampered with was hugging the body of the owner’s sister, a woman at least one size smaller than mine, in posts made on various social media.

Yep. I got hoodwinked – straight up bamboozled, lovelies!

I can laugh about it now because so much time has passed and because the rest of this story is so bonkers that this early offence is nothing compared to what was to come.

At the time, I felt miffed but not enough to make song and dance about it (like I’m doing now lol). Was it hella scammy to deceive me about the dresses? Sure. Was I deeply invested? Not yet…but lovelies, this is quite a story…

Part 2 – the Grey Period


Fast forward I don’t know how long…(This entire debacle has gone on so long that I’m not going to lie – I don’t remember all the nitty gritty.)…the owner and I (largely because of our connection through the sister) generally kept a cordial relationship.


And since I’m throwing out all these caveats like candy, let it also be known that I’ve had non-Zapel related conflict with the owner. I am in no way letting those issues affect how I review Zapel because I feel they’re unrelated to how she conducts her business.

However, it would be a crime not to disclose this tid-bit because I want to openly acknowledge any bias that may have stemmed from those unrelated conflicts.

Anyway, during this semi-pleasant grey period, I was told Zapel did make me a dress but it got lost in the shop, apparently. This is a defence that has been made against my claim that it has taken Zapel 2 (two beloved!) bloody years to design for me, yet the dress in question was supposedly lost in 2017.

More time passed in which my (admittedly half-assed and often intermittent) efforts to follow through on the dress deal became a slog of the owner claiming to be working on the dresses but never to completion.

Part 3 – Angasa’s Descent into Maddness

Fast forward again to the tail end of 2018, and funnily enough the tail end of my 2 KOLOKO (non-Malawian translation: patience)…Frustrated by the aforementioned disclosed-but-undisclosed personal matters, I became more aggressive in getting the dresses finished.


After some back and forth, that steadily increased in tension but ended up with us making nice, the owner pledged to have the dresses completed by the New Year. That didn’t happen.

However, I was aware of a family situation that I felt was justification for not meeting the deadline. (To my regret, I’m not entirely a hulking rage monster so being understanding was, like, the basic thing to do and even I’m capable of that.)

But surprise surprise…the owner’s inability to complete a two year long promise continued into the new year. Nevertheless, progress was made and I got this long black dress from Zapel which I was happy to credit.

At the time of publishing that post, Zapel was in the stages of making me a second dress. I was excited because it finally seemed like the owner was finally following through on her end of our bargain.

Beloved, my face cracked when I came to discover that I was being made one of the ugliest dresses I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes in my natural born life.

Part 4 – Zapel Designs: Curse of the Ugly Red Dress

This dress y’all. It may be the worst red disaster since that wedding on that TV show!


Immediately affronted by how awful it was, I told them I didn’t like the dress at all. After consultation, it was agreed that a net would be added under the skirt to make it flair out. Zapel added the net and what was already an ugly dress became even uglier.

What they neglected to tell me was that there wasn’t enough fabric for the dress to be able to flair out. Instead of then consulting with me, they just put a puffy net into a stiff silhouette and created the disaster you see before you.


That was three or four weeks ago. My latest attempt at trying to remedy this covfefe was last week when I gave instructions to remove the net so that perhaps it could be salvaged as a tighter number. A week later, the dress still looks as it did in January!

This morning, I decided enough was enough and went to go get the dress and the fabric for the third dress which Zapel will never make and what has ensued will make you understand why I’ve decided to put Zapel on blast like this.

Part 5 (The Finale) – the Sosholoza War (2019 A.D.)

Upon learning that I would be reviewing my experience at Zapel the owner bombarded me with phone calls yesterday morning. To cut a long tale slim, the owner yelled at me for “trying to ruin her business” and being a weed smoking degenerate.

Zapel Designs, Creations and Tailoring Shop, Zapel Designs, Zapel Creations
basically my reaction to the call…with a little more, um, french

On the first point, I think it’s really cute that someone out there thinks my blog is big and influential enough to ruin anything let alone a business.

On the second matter, I recuse myself from commenting on behalf of human rights, Rihanna and LaGanja Estranga. I refuse to engage with such blatant prejudice against stoners, whom we all know and agree are the earth’s most precious resource! (Are you a lawyer? Is my recusal incriminating? What are your fees?)

She also told me ndisazapiteso kwawo* – something I haven’t heard since primary school – and that I’m stupid. (*I must never go to her home/business.) She later texted me more of the same sentiments and wished me dead.

I told you it was going to get personal!

Although this interaction went on for nearly the whole morning until she blocked me, I will give us both the grace to leave out the ugly tar pit the rest of our exchange devolved into.

As I mentioned before, petty though I may be, I do genuinely want this review to be about the service I got at Zapel, and I think the death wish I received for saying I was going to publish this post is a pretty good place to tie this epic saga in a pretty bow.

Epilogue – My Rating

✩✩✩✩✩ 0 Stars

(Rounded up from -5)

This was the worst tailoring experience in my whole life but I’d love to keep give a MASSIVE shoutout go Zapel Designs – thanks for this amazing story!

And that’s the tea, lovelies!

So there you have it – my official entry into the tailor horror story Olympics. How about you? What’s your worst experience with a tailor? Share your horror story below in the comments.

Want to read another humour post? Click here!

Want to check out more reviews? Click here!

2 thoughts on “My Tailoring Experience From Hell | ZAPEL DESIGNS REVIEW

  1. ‘It may be the worst red disaster since that wedding on that TV show!’
    Me: …
    Me: *finally gets it*
    Me: *laughs waaaaaay too much and ends up with tears in my eyes!*

    Liked by 1 person

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