Name: Hafeni Frans
Age: That’s confidential
Occupation: Fashion designer
Marital Status: Single
When one speaks about the top designers in the local fashion industry, Hafeni Frans is sure to be one of those names.
For someone who has only officially been in the industry for a handful of years, he has an impressive resume, having been a feature in the Forbes Africa magazine and even invited to showcase for former First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba.
Did you choose fashion, or did it choose you?
I think we chose each other. I realized I had a keen eye for fashion at a very young age. In primary school, I was into athletics because I came from a family of sportsmen and women. My mother was a tennis player, and my father a boxer.
When I was in high school, I found my creative niche. I enjoyed arts and crafts, painting, etc. In the final year of high school, I drifted towards fashion, and I would always follow it in magazines.
What does being a fashion designer mean to you?
For me, being a fashion designer means being innovative and having a unique signature. It always means you have to be very cautious of what you are doing. You have to be ahead of the times, and you have to make sure your last collection is better than your last.
How has your passion for fashion helped you grow?
Most designers start off slow, but I hit the ground running. In my final year at the College of the Arts (COTA), I was supposed to have a photoshoot for a magazine, but then I got invited to have a private showcase for the First Lady.
After that, we had another fashion show, which led to me, and a fellow fashion designer, being featured in the Forbes Africa magazine. That taught me that I should never wait. People often have ideas, but they sit on them, waiting for the right moment. There is no right moment. If you have an idea, you should pursue it now.
You must have an opinion on the fashion industry for the number of years you have?
The Namibian fashion industry is still in its infancy, there is a whole lot which needs to be done. At this point, we are not much of an industry because there is so much we need that we don’t have.
We need qualified fashion buyers, fashion show managers, etc. I hope now that we have a Fashion Council, we will begin to see some changes and real growth.
If one, what message do you wish to convey with your designs?
We all have different clientele, based on our target markets. With my designs, I want people to be bold and have the courage to wear whatever it is they want, with no fear of being judged.
I want people to be unique and different with their fashion. However, our clients fear this judgement, which makes designers fall into this trap where they don’t create unique garments.
Are you ever bored with your work?
Yes, I do get, but that only happens when I have creative block. When I feel blocked, I try to focus on something else which is fashion-related, after which I get back to my work when my creativity returns.
What are the common misconceptions about you?
People think that I am a difficult person to approach, or that I am intimidating. I think it’s because I keep people at arms-length if I don’t know them, and I keep conversations brief. People also think that I am well off and that I am bourgeois. I don’t know why.
What plans do you have in the pipeline for yourself?
Currently, I’m making a collection of garments for a theatre play, and I’m also working on a wardrobe for Papa Shikongeni for various events he will have to attend in the next few months. Apart from that, I am working as a wedding planner. I have not done that yet, so it’s something new for me.
If you could sing one song at Idols, what would it be?
It would have to be Shirley Bassey’s ‘Love Story.’ I love the song. I don’t contextualize it as a song about love, but as a song about life.
If you were a cereal box, which would you be and why?
I would be a Muesli box because it is my favourite cereal. It has real textures, texture of the raisin and almond nuts, unlike these other artificial-tasting cereals.
What is your least-favourite thing about humanity?
Greed. When people get greedy, they become selfish and self-centred, and they do whatever it takes for them to get the things they want without regard for the consequences. Greed destroys.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
I was out with my friends at a hangout spot somewhere around the city, and I started dancing on the tables. It goes without saying that there was some alcohol involved.
Would you rather fight a horse-sized rabbit, or two-dozen vicious rabbit-sized horses?
I don’t know, I’m not quite sure but I think I would much rather fight the horse-sized rabbit because I would rather focus on one thing as opposed to a bunch of them.