Aesthetic Fusion: Showcasing Namibia’s Young Designers


Impressive is one word to describe the Aesthetic Fusion Fashion Show hosted by young Namibian designers, no foreign designer invited this time, just strictly pure Namibian young talent and I have to say, this was one of the strongest offerings yet by our young designers who showcased their talent recently.

Kicking off the show was a styled presentation by Retrograde Avenue, a charity organisation which presented a modern casual line that represented the modern metropolitan hipster and everyday stylish street wear that every young adult can relate to.

Second to showcase was Designer Tsatasgo //Garoeb,  who showcased a collection from his House of Tsatasgo line. I have to say I was very impressed with his leather pieces which were adorned and beautified with sheer. They were among his pieces that stood out from the rest of the collection, and he could have showcased them more because they made a very robust statement. Tsatasgo represented a very contemporary side, which was a balance between a very strong and feminine sexy woman and this time and moment with all this gender-based violence that has happened, we need strong women.

“I wanted a collection that would celebrate women, I played with different fabrics and draping.

“You know with so much drama going on in Namibia such as gender-based violence and women not allowed to wear short skirts, I just wanted women to embrace who they are, to be beautiful and sexy and just bold with whom they are and that was basically the inspiration for my collection.”

The only flaws on Tsatasgo’s work was the execution of his garments as some of the garments fitted poorly on the models and some of the hemlines were poorly done and he should have paid close attention to fabrics and how they can work with each other. But overall his leather pieces adorned with sheer fabric were his strong point and the highlight of his presentation which truly represented his inspiration.

Genene Lawrence presented three looks for her presentation from her G-Line Design line. For her first looks, Genene presented elegant light peach ready-to-wear garments with print details. I loved the fact that each piece had ultra-lux sportive elements integrated in the most luxurious alterations, which was absolutely sexy, wearable, relaxing and elegant at the same time and gave the energy that only fashion can do. I also loved the take on sportswear for cocktail.

“For my first look it was for sophisticated people and know how they want to dress in order to prove you that I’m a certain age, class and style, especially for ladies.”

For her second look, which comprised evening cocktail wear, she was inspired by the movie, “The Great Gatsby”, Grecian elements. This consisted of elegant evening jackets and cocktail dresses embellished with fringes and elegant jewellery embroidery and long floating hems.

For her third look Genene took on a mixture of old Hollywood with traditional Grecian feel to her garments, the highlights from her evening line was a sheer dark red flowing Grecian-inspired dress with amazing dark red bead work on the neckline and waist area all the way to back which was the crowd’s favourite. Another crowd favourite was a sheer tan Grecian-inspired dress, which a had a resort feel to it which closed off her presentation.

“For my second and third looks I was inspired by the movie ‘The Great Gatsby’, I don’t know if you have seen it but the ornaments they had on, I was so in love [with them].” They only flaws to some of Genene garments was the choice of fabrics for some of her garments, especially in her evening wear, the fabric choice was just erroneous and the garments’ look discounted, especially the last two garments, which were everyone’s least favourite. It would have been better if she had not included them in her presentation because they were overshadowed by the rest of her garments. But overall her presentation was charismatic. Joyce Lafika the main designer of the night, who showcased two looks from her Lafigure line, presented a collection for men and women, and was dubbed by many as the highlight of the night; Lafika Joyce showcased a line of denim as her main collection. For her denim line, Lafika presented a line for men and women and took references from urban street wear, like the whole denim on denim trend and made it her own, which was something really refreshing, because we do not have many designers who focus on street wear like Lafika who truly invented a new approach towards street wear, she managed to keep it simple and clean by titivating denim with plain white cotton fabric.

“For my denim collection is basically an eco-based collection inspired by the trend of going green and I just took denim from random people and collected second hand denim and made a whole new collection. Basically, [it was to show] that you don’t have to throw away your old clothes, you can always revamp them.”

For her second line, her main collection, she had a very clear-cut idea of taking a very popular Asian writing technique and made it her own. There were ready-to-wear pieces plus evening and cocktail pieces for the ladies, which were presented in the most elegant manner with lace and sheer, I was really impressed with her textile technique and print and the fact that it was very wearable and really stood out from the rest. Lafika did the same with her menswear, as she presented diverse pieces ranging from shorts, pants, shirts and sleeveless shirts donned with hoodies, which were all hand printed and I like the fact that there was a modern African metropolitan feel to it which made the entire line unique.

“For my second collection, my main collection, the black and white, I was inspired by Japanese symbols, that I hand printed and did it my way as in in Namibian style. I printed and designed my prints, I manufactured everything myself, the black and white collection is my baby”

It is refreshing to have someone like Lafika who is bringing the joy of handcraftsmanship, the joy of textile print making and bringing it in the Namibian industry, something that was missing. We also witness amazing jewellery designs and bags by Mutindi Mulwn who created the jewellery and accessories for the show, which many of her pieces had a Kenyan influence in and incorporated much African influence in her beadwork.

“The main inspiration behind my jewellery line is to basically incorporate sophistication, with what we begin as western sophistication with cultural influence and I have taken my two tribes, because I’m half Kenyan, half Namibian, half Oshiwambo, half Tanga, and I have taken my two tribes and sort of incorporated, their diverse features into the label. And the fashion line that you are seeing tonight is called be bold, be beautiful as you can see the pieces are very bold and will get you noticed, not something that you going to wear and nobody notices and so that’s what we want and we want to make people aware that cultural pieces can also looks classy and sophisticated.”

The Aesthetic Fusion Fashion Show was a success and one of a kind, not only was it about fashion, it also represented art, activism and giving back to the community using fashion and art as a platform.  We have many depressing problems in our country and this recent fashion show was not only about fashion but to bring up issues affecting our society today like gender based violence which designer Tsatasgo touched on in his presentation.

We also witnessed a very brave art performance by Sue Beukes were body painted models paraded down the runway in body art to present homosexuality in Namibia and to help Namibians to wear their sexuality with pride and to be confident with who they really are.

“it’s all about homosexuality in Namibia and the painting on the topless torso represents that you are wearing your sexuality with pride and the painting on the body also represents your sexuality and how you are proud to actually strip out your cloths and be like hey, what the heck I’m gay, so what!”

We also saw a presentation by Retrograde Avenue as they represented a diverse styled line of everyday casual clothes for young adults and twenty percent of the proceeds go to charity to combat poor education, health and poverty. The fashion got great reviews from the people who attend. As it was unique and well organised and many were impressed by what they saw and some even dubbed it ground-breaking and unique.

“It was excellent and there is talent in Namibia and I love the last collection by Lafika, amazing stuff and creativity and overall all the designers were amazing” said Lourens Loux Gebhardt.

“Overall the Aesthetic Fusion Fashion Show was amazing, the turn up was good, designers were very talent and without them, we can’t celebrate Namibian Fashion” said host Adriano Visagie.

And my overall thought about the show is when you are so brave to propose something that is different, something that is looking forward to future, something that is always expressing quality and value, you are always doing the right thing and this just what the Aesthetic Fusion Fashion Show represented.

May 2014
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