Award winning fashion designer, Tsatago Immanuel Garoeb, of the House OF Tsatago (HOT) says criticism is part of the fashion industry and if you cannot take it than you are in the wrong industry.
“You have to learn to take it (criticism) with a pinch of salt and have thicker skin then that of an elephant” states Garoeb. The fashion designer does men’s attire although he started with women’s couture in the beginning. “You learn not to make the same mistakes but you also learn to not lose yourself and push through your agenda as a brand,” says he. He has been criticised for his designs especially those worn at the Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) over the years by the local media but has never hit back at the critics. For the past years he has designed outfits for award-winning Damara Punch royalty, Female Donkey; singer Erna Chimu; Sally; South African rapper, MC and songwriter Fiesta Black, amongst others.
Tsatago says he is always working on new designs and the creative juices are always flowing, but as for new shows he says “let just say there is something in the pipelines.” Tsatago has staged numerous fashion shows but the ones that stands out for him was the Eyambukepo his first in 2013 on which he collaborated with major designers like Hafeni Frans. He also showcased his designs at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Fashion Week 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe, the first time to present his brand outside Namibian borders. He won the SADC Week Designer of the Year award. Tsatago also won Designer of the Year at Africa’s Finest. The eccentric, fun-loving and happy fashion designer reminisces about the SADC Fashion Show as an ‘amazing experience,’
“Growing up I have always been interested in fashion as my late sister was a beauty queen and I use to go with her to all her pageants and loved every moment of it. In Khorixas there were a lot of fashion retail out let’s so you either made do with what you had or you were like my mother that made her clothes,” Tsatago reveals. His late sister used to get her inspiration from magazines translating them into her own. But his mother would not let him touch her sewing machine except threading it for her. His father, the Damara King, Justus Garoëb, wanted him to study jewellery but instead he chose textile designing at the University of Namibia (Unam). Tsatago’s career would not have been possible had it not been for the support given by his family. “From day one when I told them this is what I wanted to do, initially my dad wanted me to be a jewellery designer, but as I was not keen he still supported me,” Tsatago recalls.
The textile industry is not an easy one to break into as is any other industry. But “push yourself and don’t let anyone stifle your creativity. Never lose yourself because in this industry that is how you set apart from the rest,” he advises aspiring designers.