Maria Hamutenya, a fashion designer based in Windhoek, turned her living room into a studio from which she has been making a name for herself with her unique approach to design.
Hamutenya said her design process is simple yet effective, as she focuses on creating a mood and atmosphere that fits with her clients’ lifestyles and design aesthetics.
“I do not do much sketching, as I never went to fashion school. But once I have an idea in my head, I make sure I bring it to life,” she told VIBEZ!
Her passion for fashion and design began at a young age, influenced by her mother – a seamstress – who encouraged her to learn the art of making clothes from scratch.
She learned how to sew in high school, but did not really take it seriously until university when she realised that she could generate an income from making clothes for people.
“I started becoming better at making clothes when I acquainted myself with other designers such as NMartin and Sirenga.” Operating under her company named Mupi Mupandeni, Hamutenya said she keeps up with the latest trends and makes timeless pieces through pure self-expression
because she wants the world to know what she finds beautiful, and nonetheless incorporates trendy styles in her designs.
“My biggest challenge as a fashion designer is really taking that leap and venturing into new designs without thinking about how wrong it could go,” she observed.
Despite this challenge, heer determination to learn and grow as a designer is what motivates her to continue pushing boundaries. “Being new in the industry means there are much bigger names, but my will to learn inspires me to become one of the best.”
Hamutenya’s clients are primarily students and young professionals who want to keep up with the latest trends while still feeling comfortable in their own skin. To cater to their needs and preferences, she focuses on using shimmer, lurex and satin fabrics, which she says are easy to work with and complements the body of her clients, no matter their size. “I make sure that my clothes are comfortable yet stylish as per the client’s specifications. I don’t like limiting myself, so I am currently learning to make men’s outfits too”, she noted. Her brand is focused on giving an identity to her clients, and making them look and feel special. To grow her brand, she plans on participating in fashion shows, doing more photo shoots ,and increasing her presence on social media.
As an upcoming designer, Hamutenya’s advice to others is to focus on the unique positioning of their styles rather than immediate sales, and to focus on building relationships with returning customers.
“There are so many designers out there doing the same stuff and charging similar amounts. Make sure you have a distinct style. If not, then develop one before developing a brand”, she continued. Despite the challenges she faces as a new designer, Hamutenya’s dedication to her craft and her passion for fashion are what sets her apart from the rest. With her eye for detail and her commitment to creating comfortable yet stylish clothing, it’s no wonder she’s making waves in the industry.