WINDHOEK– Young designer, McBright Kavari, has once again been crowned the designer of the year in the Legendary Dress Competition piping nine other designers to the title. Mbeno Murangi came second and Christa Beukes third.
This is the fourth time that McBright is winning this competition starting in 2007 when he started to participate winning it for another two years in 2008 and 2009 thereafter, making it three years in a row. It is now a misnomer to refer to McBright as a young designer , as young as he may still be at only 20, as for the few years since appearing on the scene he seems to irreversibly been carving a niche for self in the designer’s world, then and now cities-trotting having been to Berlin in Germany, and Nairobi in Kenya, to mention but a few. Only recently for about two weeks he was in Niger where his collections graced another fashion platform.
Once again the event on Saturday at the Windhoek Country Hotel and Resort proved its usual popular as an entertainment highlight on the Namibian cultural calendar with the two oryx suites at the hotel usually reserved for this occasion this time of the year, fully packed.
As in previous years, attired in the Ovaherero-Ovambanderu dress, which has become a trademark of this occasion for designers and their models, as well as for predominantly womenfolk patrons alike, they came in droves to witness what has been billed as the last event of its kind since its inception 8 years ago in 2005. The traditional Otjiherero-Otjimbanderu women dress was not the only attraction but musical groups like the star, Sally, lately of the current hit song, Bos Madam fame, and One Blood, perhaps few of the African disco kids on the block, as well as Ongoro Nomundu, the Oviritje reigning champions in the Best Oviritje category of the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs), were on hand to spice up the entertainment bill. Not only this but somehow the evening seemed to bring the best out of some hidden and untapped talents with Venee Korumbo showing the other side of her taking to the catwalk with her own brand of comedy based on imitating the speaking mannerism of the Ovahimba people. This is something she picked after her brief spell in the then Okaoko region as a teacher. That she is a comedian in her own right became evident as she left all and sundry in stitches in her imitating especially the Ovahimba dry wit and humour.
This year’s competition has been billed by the organisers, Kujeurua Ndjimarijeura [ndjimairiroro] ( Help comes to those helping themselves) as the last due to lack of sponsors with the First National Bank (FNB) having been since its inauguration the major corporate sponsor. Designers were given the task of designing a traditional dress that would be setting the trend in the traditional fashion as far as this dress is concerned. The judges opted for the dress of McBright. It may have been but as the saying goes the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The eating this time around is whether this traditional dress aficionados would take to McBright’s winning design starting this X-Mas? But without taking anything away from him being an accomplished designer now, there was little to choose from the 12 designs, a testimony to the fact that indeed the competition has been bringing the best out of the designers.
Now that the competition has apparently come to an end, it remains to be seen that this traditional dress would evoke and carry the same pride, aura, fame, popularity and glamour, let alone visibility, which it has been thanks to this competition since its installation in 2005. Not only this but can the Namibian socio-cultural calendar ever be the same without this competition? Certainly not! Next year the competition would have turned nine years. Would it not have been ideal to let go at ten? All these questions obviously begs for a rethink. And would one be surprised to see the competition making a surprise re-entry next year? One can only hold her/his breaths, and and horses!
Back in 2005 when the designers were assigned the task of designing a futuristic dress, this year’s third winner, Christa Beukes, emerge the winner and also coveted the third place with her dresses modelled by Tjipee Veii and Kaapaa Veii respectively with Grace Kauatjama in the second place. That year 26 designers entered in three categories, patchwork, evening dress and the futuristic dress.