Keep Namibian fashion alive!

18 October 2019 | Art and Entertainment

RUKEE KAAKUNGA



Every other day I scroll down my Instagram timeline, I'm filled with pride and joy as the works and accomplishments of Namibian fashion creatives greet me through aptly curated posts.

From the regular updates of yet another famous Hollywood star donning an original Ennio Hamutenya felt hat, to our beautiful models like Rowan Summers, Chelsi Shikongo or Venettia Otto killing catwalks and magazine shoots across the world. Not to mention the groundbreaking work that creatives like Ericke Tjiueza and Kevin Perestrelo are gifting the industry - allowing us to re-imagine what fashion looks like and working with equally talented millennials in pushing for representation through their work.

This year, I was especially brought to life by the recent Katutura Fashion Week showcase which proved that our fashion is finally becoming inclusive. The event brought a major fashion event to Katutura - something that I have not seen in my many years of working as a fashion writer. The event proved that people on the other side of town can be at the forefront of fashion, that the standards of beauty we have long been made to accept should never be our reality. The event told a Namibian fashion story that was never written before and that I am certainly eager to continue reading.

But then you have the ones who are killing the industry. The ones killing our hopes for progress in an industry that is long overdue for its fair share of recognition and support from the country at large.

We have all met them. You probably enlisted one to make your wedding dress only to find yourself having to be sewn into the dress on your big day. Or you ordered something from one only to be told (on the day of delivery!) that the person is actually 800 Kilometres away and you'll have to cancel any plans you had of supporting local and instead opt for a 'Monsieur Price' piece. Wait, it gets worse, you may yourself be a fashion creative, working with fellow creatives who take advantage of your goodwill and use your work without due payment or acknowledgement.

These are what I call the dream killers. Because of them, you'll hear people declare that they'd rather support international instead of parting with their hard earned money for half-baked services. Because of them, a young Namibian fashion designer, stylist or photographer will have to work harder to earn credibility because somehow, a few rotten apples have created the wrong impression of an otherwise promising industry. Not to mention having a corporate opt to use someone from outside the country that they could source in Namibia - just because of the reputation that some have managed to create.

My hope is that those who find themselves on the wrong end of this dream revaluate their part in getting this Namibian fashion machine to work smoothly. We have come so far and can go so much further if only we realised how far a good work ethic, respect and pride in one's work can take not only us, but the industry at large.



Rukee is a Concept Engineer, freelance writer and PR Consultant based in Windhoek. Follow her on Twitter @rukeeveni or email her [email protected]

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