Finally a post that’s not about productivity or aesthetics. Lol.
In this week’s post, I speak on buying Namibian and what that means for both buyers and sellers.
Anna Shiweda once tweeted;
Now, I’ll come right out and say that my household wouldn’t last very long. Food maybe a week, my closet – I’d recycle my looks for a week probably too, the only thing that’d last is the art on my wall… if only I could eat that.
Anna’s tweet got me consciously thinking about when and how I consume Namibian products. Do I actively seek it out? No, but do I want the opportunity to easily and intentionally access Namibian products? Yes, it’s my dream.
Though “buying Namibian” goes across the board, today I’m only speaking on fashion. I’m speaking from having been a fashion student myself as well as being a consumer.
The past few years have been so monumental in how we see Namibian fashion, I strongly feel it’s all thanks to the internet and social media. It’s easier now to see trends and draw inspiration from that, designers can now easily see what the world is “feeling” at the moment and then go create accordingly.
Gone are the days when the only local-designer-relationship contact we had was with a tailor who’s job was to create a look we found on the internet. Namibian designers are creating for clients, for themselves, because they can, for fashion week – they are putting out collections. They are working.
So when last did you buy from a Namibian designer/brand? How often do you? Why don’t you do it as regularly as you do from Edgars, The Fix, Mr Price?
I’ll answer these myself.
The last Namibian product I bought was Chrisla Essentials at The Garden Inn market earlier this month. Before that, was a necklace from Untold Jewellery at The Pop Up Up Festival in December and before that I was at Melisa Poulton Studio to pick tickets up and I saw a cute set so I asked her to make me one in my size, before that I bought a passport holder from KOVA at The Great Pop Up.
Do you see a trend? I mostly only buy Namibian products when I see and find them somewhere. I personally don’t like to wait for anything. So ordering something and then having to wait for it isn’t my thing. And most Namibian designers operate this way.
Which is understandable because, first of all, you can’t afford to mass produce your items and you don’t want to create things that will just gather dust in your studio. It’s safer to work on order. Only a few create ready to buy items, which they then sell at pop ups and on their social media pages.
What then is the problem?
The problem is that the arts have always been at the bottom of the agenda. Not much has been invested in creating platforms and channels that allow us to freely produce and run successful fashion businesses.
We don’t have factories that would help us easily produce our collections, we don’t have retail shops that will stock our products. We don’t have active people supporting our businesses. Designers are doing the best they can with what they have but it isn’t enough.
How are you helping?
Are you buying Namibian? Are you wearing Namibian fashion brands? Please don’t say Namibian brands aren’t of high quality, or that all they do is print on t-shirts because THERE ARE brands who are of GREAT quality, who conceptualise and create garments that you find in Edgars.
There are a few faulty brands, yes, but there are others that are really great. Buy from them.
Support in anyway you can, go to the pop up markets, find them and buy from them. Find a brand you like, buy from them regularly like you would Edgars. Have an issue with how they operate? Speak to them, drop suggestions, help them help you.
As a consumer, here’s what I’d like to experience:
Dear Namibian brand owners, please invest in your social media skills, clean up your photography and editing skills, maintain an active online presence.
Show me what you are making and what you have in stock. Show me how easy it is to get my product after I have ordered it. Tell me in advance when, where and what pop up market I can find you next.
To run a professional business you must make it look like it is. Get a brand ID, download canva or bazaart and create posters that look professional. Find an international brand you like and copy their methods.
Make sure your clothing items are ironed when you post them. If you’re a t-shirt brand, create stuff that make sense aesthetically. Find a graphic designer.
Just put in effort!
What I’m saying is, we should all just put in effort and we’ll get there sooner than we think.
What are your thoughts?