Windhoek Fashion Week From the FROW

10:17:00 PM

From Left to Right: Reinhard Mahalie, Melisa Poulton, Rumano Fabrishh, Leah Misika (Me) and Jay Aeron Gertze

A Fashion Week Review 19 days after Windhoek Fashion Week? Yes, because some things cannot be left unsaid, that and the fact that it takes about 7 days to recover from a 7-day slay session and another seven to catch up on work. I am barely a person, but your ‘fav’ was not about to let you down and not talk on what the week was really like for a F.O.R. (Fashionista on the rise). Windhoek Fashion Week is by far the most exciting time for fashion for the Namibian Fashion Industry. Although it is the end of the year, it is actually the beginning of our fashion cycle because we are Namibians and that’s what we have decided I guess.  Nonetheless, November just works cause it is right before festive season and really sets a tone for things to come in the next year. 

This year was bigger and better minus the glitches (which I would speak on but this is not really what this piece is about) but I was here for it all.  After opening Windhoek Fashion Week 2017and having launched a capsule diffusion line in October, I felt it best to sit this year out and watch from the FROW. Firstly, I have to put it out there that I was after more than just good fashion on the runway. As much as Fashion Week is about seeing Namibian Fashion talent on one platform, I am always after the bigger picture. I wanted a fashion week “vibe”and let me tell you; all my favorites pulled through and made sure the week was about curating a fashion culture that makes sense to Namibians.  

Workshops: The week started with workshops (boring, but so necessary). I attended two workshops curated by the Fashion Council of Namibia and the Goethe Institute. The information shared here was specially selected to help move the industry in the right direction and shed light on some of the malpractice issues that plague all fashion industries and how to overcome them. If you did not make it to these FREE workshops, you lost out on some serious ‘Fashion Intel’. Do better on the next run. There was also Talk Shop with the PR Girls from Zambia hosted by Vaultz Connect Magazine and Zeronine Media at The Confab, but just by attendance alone you missed out on a very good networking opportunity, and that’s what fashion week is really about.   

Networking: Speaking of networking as much as Fashion Week is a great time to mingle and meet the “who’s who” of the Fashion industry, I am not so sure social media is the way to go about it. As someone that loves to connect with people through social media it is important to recognize that there are ways to go about it. For example, if we have never engaged properly on social media, you cannot just DM asking to be my ‘friend’ and not expect me to be ‘creepied out’. Same thing when you are networking in person. You are networking to make business connects and if you are lucky you might make a friend or two, but if you make people feel uncomfortable about your presence you will do just the opposite. Be tactful about your moves, it is the best way to survive.

Dress Code: It was a SLAUGHTERHOUSE! Although I expected a lot more, it was still a slaughter session for the books. I stayed focused on the looks that aimed to inspire because if nothing else, I just want to be around people that have mastered the art to move people. Fashion Week is about showing off your personal style and although there are no actual rules, looking like you are attending an award show speaks volumes to the lack of understanding. Whilst we are on the topic of over dressing; it also seems we have adopted something new and should probably address it. Changing outfits during fashion show slots - although, I am here for it, I personally don’t get it especially because the shows are so close together and at the same venue. However, because it is home, we will allow it, but please don’t pull these antics anywhere else where “culture” does not apply. You have been advised! As for how I planned my looks during fashion week, you’re in luck because I’m sharing!


Outfits: I started curating all my looks a week before once the schedule was out. I knew I would need day and night looks on some of the days so I made sure to go with outfits that I could easily transition and add to, because let’s face it; just because it is fashion week doesn’t mean your day to day goes away. I personally still had clients to deal with, freelance work to do and orders to fill so I had to ready. I would wear my first outfit at home with my daily face beat for any day appearances than I would change at studio for the evening because there was simply no time to go home. Fashion Week for people in the industry is actually in sane. 

Hair: I knew I wanted ponytails throughout the week it was an easy hairstyle that would still look elegant and effortless. With that decided, all I had to do was choose which pony went with the look. I had many people asking about the hair I used, I tried to film tutorials, but there seriously wasn’t anytime. I used regular synthetic braiding hair. I had two homemade ponytails, which I would braid up and soak in hot water to maintain them and reuse. 

Makeup:  Knowing what a rush the week would be my makeup artist, Atwelukye Mkusa, would show up at studio to beat my face for all of the evening events to save on time.

Photography: Pictures were very important this fashion week for me because of the Instagram post plan I had. I needed to take pictures to send through for illustration so there was no time to wait for a photographer to take my picture just for me to have to beg to get pictures back. Therefore, it was me, my iPhone and anyone that was available to take the shot when I was ready. 

My Instagram Post Plan: Because of lessons learned from the previous fashion weeks, I knew I couldn’t just post random pictures. I was wanted order and I wanted anyone following to understand what was happening. I knew it was going to be 7days worth of pictures and I felt it deserved a title/ announcement. Which seems to work for me. 

FROW Code: Sunglasses in the FROW is not a requirement, but I recommend them because the runway lights can be intense and bad for your eyes. This is the real reason people wear sunglasses to fashion shows. Also remembering that as a “Frower” your shoes are visible so removing your shoes is not an option. I saw somebody do this and I felt actual disappointment (Who sent you?!). This was an unforgiveable faux pas. 

But moving right along to what made my highlight list and what made Windhoek Fashion Week Better this year compared to the last. 

1.    Namibian Fashion Designer’s, I have never felt so proud to be apart of this industry like I did this year. Namibian fashion designers did not come to play and have finally made a firm statement that quality matters to us. My Top 5 Picks

·     Synedgy by Simeone Johannes
·     Malina by Maijalisa
·     Concept by Cassidy Karon
·     Ria Boss by Maria Nepembe

2.    The Soiree by The Trio (Rienhard Mahalie, Rumano Fabrishh and Jay Aeron Gertze). I can only see this event becoming a staple for Namibian fashion weeks to come. A fashion party hosted by the most. It’s kind of perfect. 

3.    The Workshops. Guys I cannot stress this enough. If we want to move forward we are going to need all the help and information we can get. There is no way around that. All the workshops had purpose and really gave insight to what is happening in Fashion.

On that note Windhoek Fashion Week this year gave me hope that our industry is only getting bigger and better. Let’s keeps the pace and push forward. 

P.S. This year’s aim was to wear 60 to 80 percent Namibian Fashion, Next year I'm aiming for 100, leave me a comment if you want in on this challenge.

…xoxo LM (Just another F.O.R)

Illustrations by Allison Lou

Day 1 Details:

Face: Atwelukye Mkusa
Sunnies: Balenciaga
Dress: Forever New with a Zara skirt under for a different look
Bag: Kabalagala market in Kampala, Uganda
Shoes: Foschini

Day 2 Details:

Face:Atwelukye Mkusa
Sunnies: Pretty Little Things
Jacket: Leah Misika 2014
Dress: Truworths, revamped with frills
Bag: Forever New
Shoes: Aldos

Day Off? Details:

Face:Atwelukye Mkusa
Hat: Forward//Forward (Concept)
Sunnies: Top Shop
T-Shirt: Forward//Forward (Concept)
Biker tights: Cotton On
Moon Bag: Pretty Little Things
Shoes: Nike

Day 3 Details:

Face:Atwelukye Mkusa
Sunnies:Cotton On
Dress: Leah Misika 2017
Bag: Zara
Shoes: Nine West (My fave shoe brand ever!)

Night 3 Details:

Face:Atwelukye Mkusa
Dress: Leah Misika 2017
Bag: Zara
Shoes: Nine West

Day 4 Details:

Face:Atwelukye Mkusa
Sunnies: Cotton On
Dress:#SLEAH 2018
Shoes: Ego
Night 4 Details:

Face:Atwelukye Mkusa
T-shirt Dress: House of Poulton 2018
Dress: #SLEAH 2018
Shoes: Top Shop

Day 5 Details:

Face:Atwelukye Mkusa
Sunnies: Random online brand
Top:#SLEAH 2018
Skirt: Taati Sibolile 2016
Bag:Sai Style
Shoes: Ego boots that I cut (I needed a pair of mules)

Day 6 Details:

Face:Atwelukye Mkusa
Hat:Forward//Forward (Concept)
Sunnies:Random online brand
Jumpsuit: The Sequel Vintage Store
Bag: Louis Vuitton
Shoes: Foschini (another revamped shoe cause I needed a mule)

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