The Swakara Young Designer Awards held for the first time in October 2011, found a winner with Aili Nangula Elifas who designed a striking grey Swakara skirt. The awards were initiated by the Swakara board of Namibia, who sponsored the event to encourage local young designers to think about Swakara, and create original designs, with the best design going through to production and ultimately, entered into Mifur’s Remix competition in Milan.
Aili’s fashion career started with a clothing production course at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology at Arandis, acquiring her National Vocational Clothing Production Certificate in 2009. Aili then won the Namibian Upcoming Designer of the Year Award, representing Namibia at the Berlin Fashion Show in 2010.
When asked what she enjoyed about working with Swakara, Aili said: “I found the arrangement of the hair, and how it grows, interesting, and I knew it would give a neat look. I always wanted the experience of working with fur in my designs, and the Swakara Young Designers Competition gave me that opportunity. If I ever get the opportunity to work with fur again I would take it immediately.”
Aili has joined forces with a business partner who is also a designer, and now has her own fashion label, Aili, and hopes to be known in five years time, both locally, and internationally. Aili’s designs derive from playfulness, creative detail and a combination of natural colours; she describes her style as classical, comfortable and yet simple.
In March 2012, Aili’s design was sent to Milan, and entered in the Mifur’s Remix competition, along with forty-four entries from around the world.