Lynette Diergaardt is both a fashion designer and a trained artist who received her MFA in textiles from Kent State University, where she studied thanks to a Fulbright grant. She developed her skill and love of sewing from her mother who was a seamstress. One of the themes that she draws on for her work is the importance of recycling. The buttons she used in her recent collection were passed on to her by her mother. Along with reusing these notions she also made use of scrap fabric both for the garments she designs as well as her handbags. She incorporates a variety of techniques including dyeing, patchwork, appliqué, embroidery, knitting and crocheting. The layering of different techniques contributes both texture and boldness, which she identifies as hallmarks of her work. Diergaardt describes the use of recycled materials as characteristic of design in Namibia: “Using the second hand clothing markets has become a great way to develop new Namibian material culture by combining traditional material culture with contemporary fashions.” Diergaardt is committed to helping build a viable fashion industry in Namibia. She currently teaches principles of design and textiles at the University of Namibia. In the future she plans to start a business that provides Namibian goods for the domestic market. She recognizes that current business that sell local arts and crafts primarily serve the tourist market instead. Her plan is to work with fellow Namibian designers and artists on product development to be sold through an online portal.

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header image: courtesy of the artist

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