Windhoek — The first ever Namibia Fashion Show was an event to remember and produced an outstanding showcase of designs by local designers.
The glitz and glam event held at the Safari Hotel brought together fashion enthusiasts and onlookers from various backgrounds. Garments in a range of coulors, shapes and sizes graced the staged as both local and international designers showed the best of their tailored work.
Nineteen year old traditional designer McBright Kavari, the only Namibian male designer at the event, showed off a fusion of elegant traditional and modern garments worthy of gracing the international scene. "I'm really happy to have been a part of this event and to represent Namibia. I am thankful to the organisers that made this possible, and yes it was about time that they gave us the platform on which to showcase our work. I am a very proud Namibian," he said.
He added that he was drawn to each of the designer's outfits that were on display and was specifically glad to see that Namibian local designers were able to create a range of clothing lines that were unique and of international standard. " Being a traditional designer I was trying to create glamour and elegance as well as class with my traditional outfits, and from here on companies can start sponsoring designers seeing as to how much talent there clearly is so that we can expand. I would personally love to travel and get to learn all about fashion designing and what I do is all a natural talent," he said.
International names included renowned South African cutting edge designers David Tlale and Suzaan Heyns, Cameroon born fashion designer, Martial Tapolo who is based in France; Joyce Chimanye, a Zimbabwean Fashion designer based in Harare; Nigerian designer, Modela Couture; Allex Kangala; an Angolan designer who founded his brand in 2005 and showcased nothing more than sophistication in a range of tailor made suits for men.
"This event is a definite success and we need such more events to take place so as for our designers to showcase their stuff. Clearly there was talent from the stuff that we saw and I have no doubt that there are other equally talented designers out there," said designer Nikola Conradie. Conradie is currently studying in Milan, while her collection for this event combined a 1930s theme with transparent fabrics to create a modern formal look, which she added is something that she loves to experiment with. "We need to create more platforms such as these because right now there are fashion students out there, be it the College of the Arts of the University of Namibia, there are talented designers and how else will they be able to showcase their work if not through such events in the future," she said
She added that she is currently looking for space for her collection line and hopes that she will be able to have everything done by next year where she will showcase a whole winter collection. "It was amazing to see the creativity amongst my fellow designers and everyone had their own way of interpreting things and makes it their own, yet still are able to showcase something that stands out and looks good. Although it was busy and we really didn't have much time to sit and chat with each other, I am still amazed at how good this was," she added.
Apart from Conradie and Kavari, other local designers graced the runway with their designs worthy of international recognition. These included Chakirra Claasen, who went the experimental route with ondelela and shwe-shew textiles, while Maria Amakweya's designs looked at a lot experimenting with nude colours for her garments. Urban Glam Designs owner/designer, Cathy Tshikesho, took to the runway with her cocktail wear, which targets the everyday young independent woman.