Fashion by Design

By Shigweda, Absolom | African Business, February 2000 | Go to article overview

Fashion by Design


Shigweda, Absolom, African Business


Even when Inatu Indongo was a small girl playing with dolls in the Kwanza-zulu refugee camp in Angola, she was already displaying a flair for and love of design. Whenever her parents bought her some dolls she would cut up her own clothes and turn the odds into lovely dresses for her dolls. She began to dream of designing clothes for people.

Inatu's big opportunity came in 1998 when she entered the Global Innovation Fashion Show, a competition for young up-and-coming fashion designers in Namibia and won. "I did not expect to win but after this competition, I realised that I was heading in the right direction," she says.

When she enroled at the Laudima Secondary School in Congo-Brazaville, she would use some of her allowance to buy materials and turn them into dresses for herself. "That is what I used to do, rather than buying a dress from shops. So, my love of fashion designing just grew like that," she explains.

While still at school, she participated in a number of fashion shows. She believes that everybody is born to excel at something. "It is just a matter of knowing what you are meant to do," she throws in.

"Fashion designing encourages individuality and it is a very competitive and challenging career. There is no guarantee that you will make it. People think that fashion designing is glamorous but in reality it is hard work. You have to keep your eyes open and be aware of people's preferences at all times. When you see someone walking past, you have to imagine what they would look like in a different outfit or in different colour combinations. You have to live and love your career because it is a 24-hour job," she says.

Inatu, who will soon complete a four year fashion design course at the University of Namibia likes mixing African ethnic textiles, especially of animal prints with western designs. According to her, the mixing of two cultures allows her to create modern sexy clothes. …

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