Born in Namibia, Fiina Amorongo is a mom, fashion designer, model, a hairstylist and a self-proclaimed chef.
Having moved to South Africa in 2009, Fiina or known by her friends as “Fifi” has proven that she is a “Jack” or say the “Jacqueline” or all trades creative.
Described by her friends as straightforward, resourceful, full of energy, a big heart and strong, Fiina exudes an inherently Cape Town-cool sophistication and incredible intelligence that inspires the inner artist and businesswoman in everyone that she meets.
Today, Fiina shares her fascinating story, from her life-changing stint to move to Namibia, to her brave career switch and her design inspirations.
Fresh: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Fiina: I got a bunch…but I will say One Republic – Good Life
Fresh: How did you get into the “creative” industry?
Fiina: You know that comment that most designer say “I grew up with my Ouma, who used to sew” well I never thought I will say it, but it’s true I use to sit with her in a hut while she does her thing with that SINGER sewing machine at that time
Designing and creating is always something that I was always into from making wedding invitations for my cousins, to cutting my Ouma’s curtains to make myself a dress, leaving random notes to my friends/family to being a hairstylist and I guess I became more productive/equipped/useful with my hands.
I started making matric ball and church confirmation dresses for my cousins without patterns, I also had no knowledge or basic background on fashion designing at that time, I only knew how to sew.
I enrolled myself in a 3 year course in fashion design in South Africa that covered and polished my knowledge on patternmaking, fashion merchandising and fashion history.
Fresh: Tell us about your collections
Fiina: Every collection is different depending on the season/trends/colours, so these inspire me to come up with that specific collection. Fiina Amorongo is a sassy and sophisticated women’s wear with playful details, warm colours and a combination of print clothing, which embodies today’s women and every occasion she attends.
Myself as a creative person, ideas flow in my mind on a daily basis, I don’t specifically look at other designers for inspiration cause you will end up having the more or less the same feel.
I imagine myself wearing something, I start sketching, I think of the texture of the fabric, colour and if it is wearable.
At the same time I want to be a trendsetter, so I think of how my next collection should be different from the last one, which usually starts with me locking myself in my studio and start sketching till my fingers can’t anymore.
Fresh: What has been your experience as a Namibian fashion designer in South Africa?
Fiina: It’s a tough industry I must say the fact that I am competing with the top designers this side, it is hard to get into a lot of jobs I want so it’s all about developing new contacts and utilising the contacts you already have. So networking is key!
Fresh: How much does Namibia influence your designs?
Fiina: Well as a Namibian designer, I tend to use earthy colours which represents my country’s desert’s landscapes. I remember my first collection at college, they asked us to find an inspiration, I had thought of the sand dunes, the ocean, the rocky mountains, rainfall, the sun and I ended up with earthy warm colours such as brown, burn orange, olive, yolk yellow and I also incorporated the traditional Oshiwambo strip fabric that I use in my bags and shoes.
Fresh: You are also a model, when did that start?
Fiina: When I moved to Cape Town, my Namibian friends who were based there persuaded me to join a modelling agency and I just thought, “Hell no just because I am skinny doesn’t mean I can pull the modelling thing off”, but caved in and joined an agency and the rest is a path I am grateful for, I have modelled for big clients like Pep Stores and featured in some films.
Fresh: What’s unique about Namibia, from your point of view?
Fiina: The diversity, the love we have for each other, I am telling you living in South Africa made me appreciate being Namibian, the way the mix our 3/4 language in one sentence and still have respect for each other. Although we have our own politics, we are of value when it comes to treating our other tribes with respect, which is humbling.
Not to forget the slang we use “mxim ,sharp ,nxa ,nogals, kama, eetse, ne, hapo,hmm,nee man,mara.
Fresh: Your views on the Namibian fashion industry?
Fiina: There are a lot of other creative entrepreneurs in Namibia, not just fashion. We are lacking platforms for creatives to grow, either its funding, exposer, branding, marketing our products or how to manage the business. We need to support our local designers and really be appreciated and respected as fashion designers.
There is always this perception that a fashion designer is not a decent job just because you don’t sit in an office from 8 to 5.
I look up to all upcoming designers who are trying to hustle their way into the industry and to those who are established in the industry, It really takes hard work to get there so I salute all of them locally and internationally.
Fresh: So you to sum up all your roles, you’re a fashion designer, model, actress, and mother. How do you cope?
Fiina: All four of those roles need my 100% input and as a single mom I find being a mom the toughest job ever, that’s the job you can never decide to quit on, but that’s another story on its own (haha) it’s all about prioritizing.
Last one. Biltong or kapana?
Fiina: Both! But since I am in South Africa, kapana will do.
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