By Glen-Nora Tjipura
WINDHOEK-THE first-ever Windhoek Fashion Week held from November 2-5 has been given a seal of approval by both local and international fashion designers, including South Africa’s world renowned fashionista – David Tlale.
The fashion show, the brainchild of former Big Brother Africa contestant Luis Munana and publicist Kalisto Mukoroli, showcased the latest trends in the fashion industry in Namibia and across Southern Africa.
The Fashion Week kicked off with a fashion workshop at the Goethe Centre on November 2, and concluded with a catwalk at the Groove Mall on Saturday, November 5.
Following the Big Brother Africa fame in 2014, Munana launched a successful modelling career, having taken part in fashion shows across the African continent, but never at home.
“I asked myself why I can’t do it in my home country – Namibia. Why not organise a show for Namibian fashion designers and models,” he told The Southern Times, just after the catwalk at the country’s biggest shopping mall.
Although the event was befallen by calamities including the cancellation of the highly awaited Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards due to a heavy downpour on Friday, Munana said he was satisfied with the whole event.
“The event was great,” he said, while confessing that people were slightly disappointed. “But it was a learning curve,” he added.
Seboni Sir Abner Makgamatha, the creative art director at David Tlale’s fashion house commended the organisers of the fashion show. Despite a relatively small crowd, “it was a good show all in all”, he said.
McBright Kavari, another local heavyweight in the fashion industry, known for his cultural designs fused with a modern touch, also had a spot on the runway.
His collection, he said, was stirred by Namibian women, and embracing their natural looks.
He said the fashion week was a victory for the local industry.
“This is my dream; I have dreamt about this for a long time. This has been a very emotional experience for me. We as an industry have definitely come a long way,” he said.
The emperor of Namibian kwaito music, The Dogg, featured his Mshasho clothing line for the first time on the runway.
Mshasho Clothing designs a wide range of T-shirts, ladies tops, straight caps, bucket caps, ladies jumpsuits, and sunglasses.
The fashion show also attracted designers from the region – with Zimbabwean celebrity stylist Craig Zoowie’s ‘Power in My Style’ collection taking the runway by storm.
Zoowie told The Southern Times that the collection consisted of TMZ clothing label by South African-based Zimbabwean designer Thembani Mubochwa. Zoowie, who was in Namibia for the first time, said the fashion show “was a great experience”.
He further advised that people needed to understand the business of the fashion sector and how to introduce a brand to the industry. The fashion week, he said, was a great launch pad.
Nicoleen Tuyoleni Menjoro, another Namibian designer who has been in the industry for more than five years, warmed the runway with her “Damage” collection. “It was a great experience and the crowd was amazing,” she said.
Sanele Xaba, South Africa’s first international male model with Albinism, also graced the runway. “It was good to see the rich diversity of Africa, especially from the local (Namibian) designers,” he said.
Another model to grace the runway was Mervin Uahuriapi, who was born in Namibia but has been modelling in South Africa for the better part of 2016.
“Despite the hiccups that happened over two days, the event ended up being a success, the crowd’s reaction told it all,” he said.
Maria Nepembe, who rose to fame following her participation in Big Brother Africa – The Chase also featured her clothing line. Maria entered the local fashion scene with the launch of her clothing brand, RIA, last year.
“It was a nervous experience for me. I’ve never studied fashion, and thought that I would not be able to match up to other designers, who studied the craft,” she said.
The fashion week also attracted Windhoek’s fashion power houses such as Otto Muhr, Mr Price, Forever New, and designers such as Pulse from South Africa, and Nankhova Alves from Angola.
And Munana cannot believe that the inaugural Windhoek Fashion Week really happened.
“My team and I actually fasted for three days straight in order for this to happen. It was a challenge and I still can’t believe we pulled it off,” he said.