Meet Kati Cottoneater, Kati the cottoneater

By Rosalia David

SILVANUS Ndiweda, also known as Kati Cottoneater, is a perfect example of someone turning their hobby into a career. He has been enamored with fashion ever since he was a child and is now a fashion expert in Namibia.

He is one out of a few Namibian stylists that people go to when looking for vintage wear to spice up their looks in music videos and for other occasions. This week, Confidente sat down with the stylist on the rise to get an insight into where his passion for vintage wear comes from.

Born and raised in Windhoek, the 23-year-old stylist says his love for fashion started at a young age as his mom was also a fashion lover.

“My mom was a fashion killer in vintage back then, so she passed on the same energy to me. I started praising my mom every time she stepped out of the house, she then used to call me into her room to come give my opinions and choose for her an outfit for work or special occasions. At the age of six, I started wearing designer clothes and my parents would always tell me to pick my own clothes,” he said.

When he was in Grade 7 he was exposed to the music scene by Kwaito duo 2ko and Koxa and became part of the team to pick their music video outfits while suggesting their general dress code. He says he never imagined himself as a stylist until he started styling his own outfits, often picking “weird clothes”.

“Yes, I’m weird I can say, because starting from home people would laugh and ask what I’m wearing and my response was I’m not human like them, because I was different. Friends and family would always ask me who I look up to and told them Ricky Rick, South Africa’s number one cotton eater, which means fashion killer,” he said.

His breakthrough in the world of fashion came when he started styling musicians such as TopCheri, PDK, ML, Vikta Juice boy, Ethnix, Ees and many others. “After pulling off a few videos, I couldn’t believe it and decided to come up with the name, Kati (meaning respect boss) then it came out Kati cottoneater. Trust me I didn’t start small, I started big and I am grateful,” he added.

Apart from styling, the young entrepreneur also sees himself as a photographer, motivational speaker, model and a poet. He said, “I achieved a lot in a short period of time. I styled [artists on] more than nine videos and more than ten photoshoots so far and recently got signed with Imagination Studios video production team as a stylist.”

His collection comes from accessible resources such as thrift markets, online outlets and some local fashion designers who, according to him, got a feel for his endeavours. He now has plans to boost his career not only to the local market but to the international fashion industry, as well through equipping himself with the necessary qualifications.

“I want to go to a design school, preferably in Europe, to [gain] exposure and back my passion with qualifications, of course. My long-term goal is to also manufacture my very own vintage clothing line. I believe this will build capacity for my … community in terms of creative inspiration for the youth and possibly [to create] employment too.”