Local designers struggle to keep afloat

By Rosalia David

WITHOUT having a catwalk of pavements to present their carefully curated outfit combos, fashion enthusiasts are now desperately grappling at the seams of indoor-wear as an output for creativity while using social media platforms to promote local designs during lockdown period.

Confidente this week spoke to a few designers who have been in the fashion industry for quite some time to highlight some of the strategies they are using to remain relevant and to find out how the stay-at-home order has affected their businesses.

Melisa Poulton, who has become a favourite trendsetter in the Namibian fashion industry, described the pandemic as a setback as she has no profit coming in ever since the lockdown was enforced.

“I opened a shop at the Warehouse Theatre recently and since everything closed I haven’t been making any income at all. What I am trying to do now is make masks rather. This is surely a learning curve for us to start using digital platforms to our benefit,” she said.

She further mentioned that she has plans to create an online platform for her shop, although it might take some time.

One of Namibia’s most valued fashion designers industry expert Leah Misika also corroborated Poulton’s sentiment, saying that it is indeed a bad time for the fashion industry.

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“I have an online store and it has been difficult to cope during this time because fashion is not an essential. People are not keen spending too much on clothes during this time,” she said.

She added that she has lost most of her matric farewell clients as well, and is currently keeping herself busy writing business proposals and making plans for the year ahead, including preparing for the Windhoek Fashion Week.

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“Some designers are making masks, but I would also like to urge fellow designers to use this time to put their brands out there, market their work and design,” she said.

Another fashion designer Twapewa Amutenya who stressed how they have been affected by the lockdown, said it is high time designers consider putting their work online to promote the online buying and selling.

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“For now I am just active on social media and I think it is also a good time to put our work out there and focus more on ready-to-wear outfits.

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For now, my focus is on men’s wear.”