• September 27th, 2020

Industry Loop: Fashion... where art thou? 

This year’s fashion week reportedly saw 35 designers showcase their work. Five from the College of the arts, two students from the University of Johannesburg, ten beginners, ten emerging designers and eight established designers.  

F A N T A S T I C. Round of applause to Luis Munana and his team for an improved showing. These numbers indicate that we do have the talent that can and will supply according to market dynamics. Now I’m no fashion expert. Neither am I fashionable. I’m an ordinary dude on these streets who prefers comfort over everything.  

Fashion pioneer, Loux the Vintage Guru would always scold me for my lax attitude towards what I wear. The point that I am making is that your ordinary man on the street may borderline share my sentiments. Like...it’s not that deep fam. I’m not going to get a suit tailored for church, or work function etc. I will walk into any of these South African multinational clothing shops...get me a simple suit & tie and get on with my life.  

Until Luis and the entire Namibian fashion industry normalizes Namibian fashion, it will come across as an elite sport. It will remain inaccessible. Inaccessible in the sense that the ordinary ousie on the street cannot walk into a shop at a mall in Kuisebmund and purchase a Namibian piece. That means Namibian fashion will remain irrelevant to the masses. The keyword here is accessibility. The only way the Namibian fashion industry will win is if it becomes accessible to the ordinary omes on the street.  

But how do we do that when these South African multinational retail spaces that make millions per branch deliberately block us from stocking our work? Even if one silly old shop gives up the go-ahead to stock our work...how do we capacitate a Namibian designer to mass produce if there is no policy to empower one such?  

The ordinary man on the street will not understand the struggles of the fashion industry. The ordinary man on the street won’t even care about the struggles the industry face. Why should they right?  

The onus is really on the Namibian fashion industry to champion the cause. The Namibian fashion industry needs to disrupt these South African multinational retail spaces. The only way I see that happening is through policy.  

Do we have a binding policy that speaks to this? A policy that obligates these South African multinational retail spaces to stock Namibian products. The ordinary meme on the street has enough to worry about...housing, petrol, job security etc. The ordinary Tate on the street will never have the time to join in on the fight.  

Pioneers like Luis and Loux will need to champion this. Lobby policymakers. Force it unto the national agenda and have some sort of political framework that will propel the Namibian fashion industry. Until that happens, fashion in Namibia will remain inaccessible for the ordinary man on the street and it will remain an elite sport.  

Until the next loop, we say “GMTM”!
NSK is a professional MC. For bookings, email naobebsekind@gmail.com
@naobebsekind(twitter) NSK #GMTM (facebook)


Staff Reporter
2019-11-22 09:30:45 | 10 months ago

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