FASHION designer and creative director Maano Ndakondja debuted her ready-to-wear summer collection titled 'hello fashion' at the Katutura Community Art Centre in Windhoek recently.
The collection comprises cultural attire, ready-to-wear items, sleepwear and wedding attire for both men and women.
"Whatever the event, we cater for all. I believe every day is special," says Ndakondja.
Her aunt, who owns a boutique, raised her and this is where her passion for fashion was sparked.
"The little ones used to assist her with various things such as unpacking, cutting off threads and packing. We used to do any little jobs we were able to do in the boutique. This was a huge inspiration," she says.
The collection consists of black and white pieces.
"It says so much about me. I graduated in 2020, which is when the pandemic started. It was so unexpected, like a dark cloud (black collection pieces), but we overcame it through acceptance (white collection pieces).
"We have lost loved ones and it's not easy, but we've moved on to the next chapter," she says.
Ndakondja began her fashion showcase with the cultural pieces in her collection because heritage means a lot to her and she hopes to inspire others to embrace it more.
"For me culture is home. Being in the city is a challenge, both financially and mentally, but we have to be strong. We've got to pull ourselves together and be great. We must never forget where we come from. That's the love and respect for culture I have," she says.
Showcasing her first collection has been a learning experience for Ndakondja, who endeavours to grow from strength to strength.
"While working on this collection I've learned to let go, accept what's there and simply focus on what needs to be done," says Ndakondja who was challenged in completing the collection to the level she would have wished, due to a lack of time.
"Hosting the show was really a class for me. I learned so much," she says.
Her father, Viljoen Ndakondja, has long supported Ndakondja's dream because he believes in her potential.
"I urge all parents and guardians to stand by their children. Let them grow up and be independent. Let them do their own thing," he says.
Ndakondja's former fashion design teacher, Helena Hangula, describes her as committed and a hard worker who likes to help other students.
"It makes me happy to witness the debut of her career in fashion. She's been committed since day one. She goes the extra mile and is always challenging herself. I know that this is not the end for her," Hangula says.
For fans who missed the initial showcase, Ndakondja will stage another show, featuring a few additional pieces, at the Protea Hotel in Windhoek on Saturday, 2 October at 18h00.