Namibian Fashion Designers Hold Their Own

23 May 2013 06:35

By Natasha Diergaardt

WINDHOEK, 21 MAY (NAMPA) - If the Eyambukepo Fashion Show staged here on Friday evening is anything to go by, then Namibia is in for greater things.
Not only did the event showcase some inspiring fashion creations from two local designers and one from Dubai, it also displayed young Namibian musical talent and exceptional event-organising abilities by Namibians.
The event, themed 'Youth Uprising', was organised by three Namibians from the music label 'Bay Area Music', made up of Richard Namwandi, 21, Kevin Majiedt, 20, and Taitum Coetzee, 22.
The trio duly opened proceedings on Friday evening.
The headline designer was Shweta Wahi from Dubai, while the two local designers were Hafeni Frans and Tsatago //Garoeb.
Although the event was poorly attended - less than 100 people present probably due to little marketing - the actual event staged at the Roman Catholic Hall was of exceptionally high standard.
The stage and runway were on point, the lighting and food for dignitaries were exquisite, and the audience was entertained by a variety of musical performances from not only Bay Area Music, but also Nama Awards? Female Artist of the Year ?Blossom?, another 2013 Nama Award winner ?Exit?, Lil D and several other young Namibian musicians.
First to showcase his wares was Frans, 30, under the theme ?African Ballerina?.
He told Nampa that the inspiration for the collection came from a classical music piece from the international Swan Lake ballet production, into which he incorporated some ?African-ness?.
His collection included various knee-length cocktail dresses constructed from colourful African prints and plain, glazy cotton fabric.
Frans, who graduated from the Katutura Community Arts College earlier this year, also displayed his workmanship in a tailored men?s waistcoat suit from black taffeta and a printed black velvet flower pattern on white tafetta.
Striking were his sheer men?s sleeveless shirts made from organza textile, and these were paired with knee-length shorts in delightful African prints.
The majority of his 14-piece collection consisted of black and white outfits, most notably his masterpiece - a black and white peplum bodice paired with a white mermaid-style skirt - also the only maxi dress in his collection.
Most of the black and white outfits were accessorised with scarves and big bows made from the black and white flowery velvet-printed textile.
He put the collection together within three weeks, and did all the designing, pattern-making and sewing himself.
Frans will officially launch his label ?Hafeni Frans? next year.
Second to showcase his creativity was Tsatago //Garoeb, a final-year fashion student at the University of Namibia. His creations were presented under the theme 'Hot, Hot, Hot'.
//Garoeb, 30, also produced his 19-piece collection within three weeks, and derived inspiration from his desire for the wearer ?to feel beautiful and alive, but mostly to enjoy and to feel good?.
?My collection is soft and playful, yet feminine, romantic and in celebration of womanhood,? he said proudly.
//Garoeb, who also designs and sews all his garments himself, played with a combination of colours - peach, red, black, white and gold - and textiles such as polyester, lace, lining, polycotton, printed cotton and sequence.
His ready-to-wear garments consisted of skirts, dresses, shorts, high-waisted trousers, blouses, jackets, and his main piece was a theatrical-inspired black and gold swimsuit-type garment with one shoulder strap veiled in a long sheer and belted black material with a front opening.
//Garoeb?s great craftsmanship also showed in the newspaper print garments? category, printed by himself.
The peach-coloured collection, which also included revealing lace fabric pieces, soon flowed into the red lace set of garments, and these were well-received judging, from all the reaction of the crowd.
With the red lace collection, //Garoeb certainly succeeded ?in bringing sexy back?.
This was ably displayed in the racy see-through blouses and mini-dresses, while the red lace floor-length gown with a deep front opening and halter-neck was simply adorable.
He also created men?s wear in trousers, shorts and shirts.
//Garoeb regarded Friday?s show as a mini-launch, saying he will launch his label ?h.o.t?, which is short for ?house of tsatago?, later this year. But his ultimate aim is to open his own boutique with his own creations.
Indian-born Wahi, who is based in Dubai, also put forth a range of women?s ready-to-wear garments made from, amongst others, tulle, faux, cotton, satin and chiffon textiles in various colours and African prints.
Her background in visual arts, especially print-making, could clearly be seen in her use of different types of animal pelt prints such as zebra, snake and leopard.
Wahi, who taught herself how to design and sew clothes, said she was inspired by Africa, especially Namibia, hence the various animal prints in her designs.
Most of her garments consisted of loose-fitting kaftan-like dresses and blouses in various lengths, tight-fitting mini-dresses in different hem lengths, and harem pants paired with bodices in laced-up details at the back.
The 22-year-old designer told this news agency that she enjoyed the collaboration with Bay Area Music, and looks forward to returning to Namibia for an even bigger fashion and music production.