Fashion in Namibia is progressively moving into a more entrepreneurial concept, as a generation of fashion designers have transformed past experiences and professional vision to become entrepreneurs.
And with Namibian fashion entrepreneurs steadily gaining significance in the local economy, so too is competition growing among those in the fashion and beauty industry.
This proved true when a total of 15 people involved in the local fashion and beauty industry pitched their businesses for possible funding on Tuesday during the second edition of the Fashion Pitch Night as part of the annual MTC Windhoek Fashion Week (MWFW).
In collaboration with Launch Namibia, MWFW created this platform to bring fashion and entrepreneurship together to support the Namibian fashion community, specifically targeting fashion designers, make-up artists, and hairstylists, also referred to as ‘fashionpreneurs’.
These funding opportunities as well as the fashion week runway shows and related activities are most certainly the reason behind the fast-growing fashion industry now booming with authenticity and creative skills, innovative ideas, and new inventions.
Niita Shikongo of Launch Namibia said they intend to highlight the importance of entrepreneurship in the fashion industry.
“So often in our societies, fashion is not seen as a business venture but it actually is; that is how our creatives make a living,” she said.
Shikongo added that Fashion Pitch Night has also gained a high level of respect and reach within the fashion and start-up ecosystem.
She further encouraged people to support the start-ups and the homegrown talents, saying, “This enables them to generate more income and advance their ventures. Launch Namibia is always open for collaborations to help start-ups, entrepreneurs, and our ecosystem to grow”. Launch Namibia is a motivational business platform that strives to nurture the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia, by playing its role as the link between start-ups and public and private sector players.
In a brief chat with VIBEZ! model-turned-fashion designer and founder of the MWFW, Luis Munana said their collaboration with Launch Namibia has been successful and they plan to grow fashion entrepreneurship in the country.
“One of our achievements is the fact that we have added the hairstylist category; last year it was only make-up and fashion design. There are more exciting elements to come and it’s going to get better every year. Our goal for the future is to make Fashion Pitch Night one of the best events,” he said.
The main winners of the Fashion Pitch Night include Laina Mbandi for Lulama & Lupita, who scooped the first prize in the Fashion Design category. Taina Emvula (Taniita Beauty Goddess) came first in the make-up category, while Sandra Kambewa (Leah’s Hair Couture) walked away with the top prize in the hairstylist category.
Second and third place winners in the various categories include Asteria Nandago (The hair queen), Suzanna Mathias (Touch by Sk), Helena Shimbulu (Sunset crawls), and Tamson Gawachas (An & Co designs).
Mbandi, an upcoming fashion designer and founder of Lulama & Lupita, could not contain her excitement when VIBEZ! approached her for comment.
“This is such a huge achievement for me and my brand. This means people understand, see, and want to consume my work. I am planning to set up a website where people can buy all our creations. Hopefully, we will be able to do that in December,” she said.
Established last year, Lulama & Lupita is a mid-luxury Namibian high-end women and LGBTQ+ ready- to-wear clothing label.