Share ideas, Namibian designers told

“Today what we have in Namibia is just a on-E-man show. We do not have a fashion industry here, only people working in one’s corner. The future of our fashion industry depends on us ganging up and taking along each other,” said Beverly.

She is also not happy about lack of commitment by local shops and distributors who are allegedly reluctant to do business with them.

“Our designs are not in these big shops, which is very sad because we have to compete with exported products.

“Currently, we only sell our products either from home or from these small stalls, which many people do not know about. But our own people need also to change their mind-set and start supporting local products.”

However, Beverly is happy with the response from the public towards her designs.

“I am getting a positive response from the public, especially the youths,” she said.

She mainly designs outfits for street wear that are popular with young people.

She is the personal designer of Lady May, one of the top recording female artistes in the country. She also designed the outfit that was worn by Miss Namibia 2006 during the finals.

Apart from doing well, Beverly is also a philanthropist. She donates part of the money she raises from every fashion show she holds. “We all need to give out to the needy, no matter how little we earn,” she said.

Born 26 years ago at Otjituo near Grootfontein, north-western Namibia, Beverly formally entered the local fashion industry after she participated in the Small and Medium Enterprises awards in the youth category.

Beverly said she has a passion for designing. She has been doing it from a young age.

“It is not a family thing, maybe it is an inheritance from Herero women. They love dressmaking and they are good at it,” she said.

Though she had this passion for dressmaking, she only became serious about being a designer after completing Grade 12. In 2003, she completed a six-month Introduction to Fashion Certificate at the College of the Arts and in 2004 completed a three-year diploma in fashion and business skills in Cape Town, South Africa.

Following that, she registered her own business, Charity Fashion CC, with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“Currently I am busy studying the market in the country and neighbouring countries. I want to establish myself locally and then export my products to international markets.”

Although many Namibians are entering the industry, lack of business skill is their major challenge.

“Talent is not enough in this industry, it is also important for them to seek formal training, especially in business skills, because at the end of the day, you want to sell your products.”

She is also the coordinator of the Group Purchase Scheme (GPS), an initiative of the Ministry of Trade to facilitate the formation of co-operatives among local designers.

GPS is also aimed at sourcing material such as sewing machines and fabrics directly from the producers. “This is intended to lower the cost of buying from suppliers, especially in South Africa, which is very expensive.”

Apart form dreaming of visiting some of the renowned fashion shows such as the Paris Fashion Week, Beverly wants fashion to be incorporated into school curricula.

“Our education is very wrong, it needs to teach our youths how to create employment after leaving schools and you can only achieve that by teaching them technical subjects, from early grades,” said Beverly.

August 2008
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