Those who pay attention to the local fashion world would have noticed that local designer McBright Kavari tends to feature snakeskin fabrics and his models trot about on stage with fake pythons.
McBright’s recent collection at the African Fashion Reception in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia featured an eye-catching and dramatic garment with a large and quite lifelike python. And it had people talking, again. Which does not seem to bother McBright.
“I am known as the most dramatic designer. I always want to do something different, unique and to stand out. The python-inspired look left people impressed. They wanted to feel the snake because it looks like a real snake, but why would a model rock on stage with a real snake?” he wonders out loud when approached for comment.
He says the inspiration behind the python fabric is the country’s tourist attraction and its landscape.
To McBright the python idea is unique and he points to the fact that the garment received a standing ovation in Addis Ababa, where he was among 30 other African designers. He also says featuring a python gives an opportunity for those who had not seen a snake in real life to admire one.
“The thing with the snake themes is that we have a beautiful landscape; there are people who are not fortunate to see a snake. A snake does not mean it has to do with witchcraft, or is related to evil, but just a demonstration of what Namibia can offer, showing that I am coming from this country with the most beautiful landscape and tourist attraction,” he said.
He was comissioned to design Miss Namibia, Paulina Malulu’s national costume for the Miss Universe beauty pageant. He has also designed an Otjiherero traditional dress, in which he used an ethnic snakeskin, taffeta material with cute colours that add vibrancy to the dress. Although he was criticised for it, Mcbright believes the dress has artistic features that stand out.
Also best known for giving the Herero dress a facelift, McBright believes he has taken the Otjiherero dress to a new level so that young people today who are fashion conscious and trendy are more likely than ever to wear and show off the attire.
“I am labelled for the [snakeskin] dress, yes the dress was there. But I have done my research, and the most important thing is that I introduced the Herero traditional dress to young people. Young people are now interested in wearing the Otjiherero dress, because it’s modernised,” he said.
McBright, who has showcased his work in many countries, including Germany, Kenya and Nigeria, adds that representing Namibia has always been one of his biggest dreams.
“I have worked hard lately and I have been receiving a lot of invitations to represent my country in different countries and every country I’m invited to I go with a new collection. Although the industry is hard, I love what I do. I would die for fashion,” he says.
McBright is now heading to Paris to represent Namibia at the international edition of the African Fashion Reception end of this month. He has also launched an online shop to sell his garment.