It is believed that networking, connecting and understanding your clients are the main traits fashion designers need to build a successful trademark.
Considering the size of the fledgling local fashion industry, most designers look forward to major events, such as the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) and fashion shows to get more customers and market their products. But are there other opportunities for them beyond these few events?
Designer Melisa Poulton says although she looks forward to these high profile events she believes there are always opportunities out there that designers need to grab. “Those big events can be a great chance for most people to see our work, but sometimes one just needs to go out and hunt for customers. There are so many other events and opportunities,” she says.
To promote her work Poulton also hosts regular clearance sales, for as little as N$30 to N$200 to promote her brand, as well as engaging and showing people her designs and offering low prices to attract buyers.
Poulton says to develop her brand she dressed people, just to market her work and have ambassadors for her brand. “I’m busy sourcing people outside Namibia that I can dress. I also plan to take part in some fashion week abroad. I’m currently planning and preparing myself and I’m trying to get my brand out there as much as possible.”
Ingo Shanyenge, a prominent local fashion designer, says he also occasionally exhibits at the local flea market in the capital and has dressed a few well-known personalities for free over the years. “The exposure is great, but one has to pick the right people, event and outfit to make it work. Even free work should translate into sales in the near future,” he says.
Although he has not dressed an international star yet, he has showcased his work at the Zimbabwe Fashion Week, which provided a great platform to exhibit his talent and have some high profile socialites don his gear.