Windhoek-Simply You Magazine (SYM) Lifestyle and Fashion Awards Blogger of the Year, Leah Misika – a well-known blogger and fashion designer – is not new to the fashion industry.
She has been in the industry for some time now, which has led some to believe that she is also an entertainer, but Leah says her aspirations have never really been to entertain.
She rather aims to build her own notions of beauty in the fashion industry.
“If that qualifies as entertaining then I guess you could say my aim is to be Namibian fashion’s ‘It Girl’ if that term really exists in Namibia,” she says.
The founder and managing director of her own company, La Mode Fashions, Leah describes herself as a creative designer whose love for fashion and her background in retail management, makes for a well-balanced integration of disciplines for La Mode’s objectives.
“I am tasked with a variety of responsibilities, from lead creative to governance and business development initiatives internally. For people to truly understand me, they would have to understand my business model, because I am La Mode Fashion and La Mode Fashions is me, in the way it operates and moves through the industry.”
Her grand scheme of things is to contribute to the Namibian fashion industry to the best of her ability and skills. Her focus this year has been on building her brand, La Mode Fashions and moulding the sub-brands.
“Everything I have done this year from attending the Sun Met, Cape Town Fashion Week to serving on the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) fashion panel, organising the Namib Fashion Festival with the Fashion Council of Namibia and attending Berlin Fashion Week, all boil down to building my brand.
“Someone wise recently told me that, one cannot elevate one’s industry if one cannot elevate oneself,” Leah says, and adds that this advice changed her entire mindset.
“Sometimes, all you have to do is keep going and keep creating to benefit your industry.”
She says La Mode Fashions has three business arms, namely fashion design, fashion marketing and retail consulting, “All arms that I am very passionate about. The blogging and vlogging falls under our fashion marketing arms”.
This year, Leah made headlines by designing a beautiful gown made out of Red Bull cans.
They showcased the dress during the Wernhil Park Fashion show that took place on Saturday 2 September, and it was the highlight of the event.
She says the idea came as more of a challenge to her.
“Someone asked if I could make one? I said yes and so I did. It was definitely not an easy task and those who followed my social media during this time saw how much work and time went into making that dress,” she says.
She completed the dress with the help of Petrus Shiimi from Bold Creations, who showed her how to cut the cans as well as helped her explore the different shape options until she could finally visualise what she wanted the dress to look like.
Leah notes that for a person to earn a living from designing, you have to diversify the business portfolio, and be very strategic about how to do things and what you want to achieve.
“Not every project, whether it pays or not, is good for your business, so you have to be very clear about the direction your business is taking. Try not to copy other business models, because you create unnecessary competition for yourself.”
Leah, born in Katima Mulilo, began her designing career as a hobby by designing for her dolls. She never considered fashion design a career until she moved to Paris, France, when 14-years-old with her father where she attended the International School of Paris.
She then went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in fashion design at Miami International University of Arts and Design in September 2010.