Bobby Kanjoosa is the fashion content-coordinator for Artwolfe
Fashion Council Namibia (FCN) is the only organisational body in Namibia that supports and protects the fashion industry, while establishing and maintaining a code of ethics and standards to better grow our industry and its individuals. It was launched in August this year.
I spoke to FCN’s public relations and marketing manager, Charlotte Schoeman, about the organisation. “The founding members of FCN are all professional people with other demanding jobs. It has been through hard work, determination and a great passion for the fashion industry that I believe we managed to follow through this time,” Schoeman explained. “However,” she added, “it has proven to be a difficult and time consuming task, one that not many have been willing to undertake and follow through with.”
FCN is aimed at creating competitive and accessible intervention programs that will enable the fashion value chain to achieve sustainable businesses partnerships both locally and international. It is with this goal in mind that FCN worked with Pambili Young Designers (PYD) and produced the Emerge Fashion Show which was held at the FNCC on the 31st October 2014 and funded by the National Arts Council of Namibia. The event was a huge success and it seems that 2015 will be a busy but exciting year for the FCN as they have many projects in the pipeline. The 2015 AGM will be a platform where fashion industry professionals can apply to become board members or pass their vote on who they would like to have on the FCN board for 2015. As the FCN is an initiative to grow our fashion industry, FCN are also busy planning industry related workshops in and around Windhoek. Miss Schoeman says these will offer opportunities to educate fashion practitioners and fashion hopefuls about fashion so that we can bring our local industry to world class standards. A Models ‘Boot Camp’ is also in the pipeline, which will be a joint venture with PYD. Lastly the much awaited Namibia Fashion Week in collaboration with PYD might be a possibility for the year 2015.
The FCN was started under the careful management and support of seven board members. “Unfortunately our original Chairperson (Marcelle Van Wyk) has resigned due to illness and one of our board members (Bruna Coimbra) has been inactive since her pregnancy” say Miss Schoeman, “We are currently only 5 active members. As you can see we all come from different backgrounds and have played an integral part in shaping the way forward for the Namibian fashion industry”.
Miss Schoeman is a professional make-up artist, model and fashion event co-ordinator. Her reputation in the industry was earned through attending prestigious international shows in New Zealand and the United Kingdom as a model. As the public relations officer, she was happy to host us and answer my questions.
Fashion designer, stylist, fashion lecturer, show producer and choreographer Chakirra Claasen has been Schoeman’s partner in crime as the Marketing and Events Manager at FCN. Miss Claasen gained her BA Visual Arts degree from the University of Namibia in 2005. She has a lot of experience and achievements under her belt, such as being one of the top 10 finalists from 60 upcoming designers from all over Africa to represent Namibia at FIMA in 2009 and 2011. Other achievements include designing a dress for the M-Net Face of Africa competition in 2010 and in 2011 she designed a garment that represented Namibia at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
FCN Brand Representative, Gretta Gaspar, is the Senior Arts Education Officer for the Ministry of Youth, National Services, Sport and Culture. She is responsible for arts promotion and creative industry development for FCN. She is also a fashion designer, graphic designer, textile designer and visual artist. Miss Gasper gained her BA Visual Arts degree from the University of Namibia.
Next up, financial analyst, film maker, TV presenter and professional model, Luis Munana is the Finance Manager at FCN. Munana has a Financial Information Systems degree from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and is busy obtaining his second degree in media from UNISA. He has taken part in major fashion events such as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Cape Town and Johannesburg and also Durban Fashion Fair and Fashion by the Sea. He was the official Namibian representative to Taiwan at the Manhunt International Contest, being selected from thousands of African hopefuls to represent PEPSI in a TV commercial at the African Cup of Nations in 2013. He has also done several TV commercials which aired all over Africa on TV.
Last but not least, Miss Namibia 2010 Odille Gertze Muller is in charge of the press and media for FCN. The beauty queen is also a fashion designer, actress, fashion journalist and dancer. She studied pattern making, garment construction, creative computing, fashion photography and business studies from the Elizabeth Galloway Fashion Academy and is a dancer for First Rain Dance Company.
When asked to give her last remark Miss Schoeman said “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”.
If you want to find out more, check out the Fashion Council of Namibia on Facebook.