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Local designer to represent Namibia at Ethiopia show

Jilia Kandjimbi (25), a fashion designer and creative director of Ish Namibia, has been chosen to represent Namibia at the Africa Fashion Reception show in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this year.

The two-day celebration of pan-African cultural diversity and talent is scheduled for 25 to 27 October.

This is one of the biggest events in the African fashion industry, says Kandjimbi, who holds a diploma in fashion design and visual applied arts from College of the Arts (Cota).

She says the event will be attended by designers across the African continent.

“I have been chosen to represent our nation as a showcasing designer. It would mean so much to me to attend, as not only do I get the chance to wave our flag high, but also to grow my skills in the process of meeting other designers, which I can transfer to my fellow Namibians upon my return,” Kandjimbi says.

The designer has been involved in a number of companies and events, including the Katutura Fashion Week, the Break Free Fashion Show to end gender-based violence, Standard Bank, and Top Score Namibia.

She says representing Namibia abroad would advance her career.

Despite being happy to be the only local designer selected, the designer says she still needs support to be able to attend this event.

“I need financial support to pay the attendance fee, which is US$1 000 (N$17 970),” she says, adding she also needs money to pay for her flights, which are currently estimated to cost N$15 600.

“As an emerging designer, I am working hard to be able to cover the costs of creating my collection, which will include 10 looks, but I do not have the financial resources to cover all the costs involved.”

Africa Fashion Reception was founded in 2013 to empower women and young people involved in various facets of the fashion industry through the provision of training, capacity-building schemes, workshops, and the establishment of small and medium enterprises, thereby supporting the African Union Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Kandjimbi has collaborated with M&Z Motors and Mercedes-Benz to debut her collection, Fit by Ish, in 2020.

She began her modelling career 10 years ago and was Miss Mining Namibia 2017, and Miss Walvis Bay 2018.

She finished among the top 30 of the Miss Namibia pageant in 2019.

Kandjimbi started Ish Namibia in 2017.

The upcoming event has inspired her to create Ish Designs, a company that offers Namibia’s fashion enthusiasts ready-to-wear clothing, she says.