One way for designers to secure funds for new and exciting fashion collections, is by partnering with well-known and established brands. This is exactly what Namibian designers, Leah Misika and Melisa Poulton did via the Jägermeister X Initiative, which aims to promote artists by providing them with a platform to exhibit their work.
The Jägermeister X Initiative is known to collaborate with fashion designers who are eager to turn the brand’s vision and philosophy into a wearable lifestyle. This year, it’s Leah Misika and Melisa Poulton’s “Jan Jooster” collection for men and women, which will spread Jägermeister’s message around the world. Taken from the Namibian expression, “Jiri Jan Jooster” – which means as much as “Oh my God” – the collection’s name celebrates people with a recognizable sense of style, seeing as Jan Jooster was said to be a man with a great fashion sense.
Director of her company, La Mode Fashions, and winner of the Simply You Magazine Lifestyle and Fashion Awards Blogger 2017, Misika, told The Namibian: “Something that many local fashion designers do wrong is constantly asking for money. I thought a better approach would be to get corporates more involved in Namibian fashion. Jan Jooster is streetwear. The designs are also nice for the season we're in now, because it has a lot of features that can keep anyone warm.”
Melisa Poulton, who was first inspired to become a fashion designer upon viewing 101 Dalmatians and seeing Cruella de Vil’s fashion studio, has been designing ready-to-wear garments for top Namibian artists such as Freda and Lize Ehlers and the hosts of the Annual Namibian Music Awards show. “This is the first time both Leah and I designed menswear. For me it was a huge challenge, but I had so much fun. Men's pants are much harder and more complicated to design than a dress or skirt. I will certainly design more men's clothing from now on.”
The Jan Jooster line was launched on May 31st at the Warehouse Theatre and received stellar feedback. Leah and Melisa’s stories go to show that, sometimes, it really is worth it to reach your feelers out and find collaboration opportunities rather than going it your own. And to big brands, this collaboration is proof that supporting local artists and designers can not only benefit their own company, but entire communities with limited access to the industry.