The Fabric of Namibian Beauty
Driven to be the preferred home textile, homeware and interior design brand in Namibia, Unleashed Design are about to unleash their brand new, Namibian inspired, textile range. Elegant, understated yet bold and vibrant, this range of textiles is a first in the interior design arena and 99FM’s MYD Smart sat down with the man behind the brand, Leon Engelbrecht, to find out what this new textile range means for Namibia and where this new business plans on going.
“My partner and I had the opportunity to build our dream house and so we saved up for a long time and then bought a piece of land in Kleine Kuppe. After another year and a half we were ready to start the building and I took the responsibility for doing the house interior. The whole process taught me so much and I loved it. I got so inspired by the process that I decided to pursue this. I have been in the corporate world for 15 years and I have always wanted an outlet for my creative side. So I started by doing an online course in Interior Design with the University of Cape Town and after this I landed by first paying gig.”
“What I found is that interior designers in Namibia use sample books of fabrics from South Africa and sell this as the only available option to decorate your home with. There is little locally made or locally inspired and I felt that it doesn’t make sense. This inspired me to start a textile range that has Namibian meaning and a proudly Namibian stamp. So I partnered up with a very good Namibian Graphic Designer and we started working on bringing my vision to life.”
What inspired your textile range?
“The inspiration we need is all around us here in Namibia, from the colour pallet in our amazing sunsets, dunes and sky to the amazing surroundings and nature. I used local nature elements and incorporated that into my design. The 2016 range is called the succulents and kokerboom (quiver tree) range. I took inspiration from these local Namibian plants. The colour palate of this range is taken from colours found in Namibia. Some of the colours come from photographs taken of succulents in my garden to the colour of the Namibian sky. I took photographs of the colours of the succulent leaves for example and converted these colours digitally. I followed an organic process to get here, to the place where we are about to launch this proudly Namibian and Namibian inspired range.”
Where do you want to take this business?
“I am doing this all after hours and my plan is to see how the business grows. I would like to grow the business to a point where we are locally printing textiles on a large scale. While I don’t ever want to be a company that mass produces products, I would like to keep the quality and uniqueness and be able to provide jobs in the process.”
“For now we are working with a team of Namibians who make this a proudly Namibian product. I am working with incredible talent, women in Katutura with their own businesses, who are stitching the final pieces together using my textiles. It’s wonderful to see the products come to life.”
Starting a business and launching a textile range requires you to be very clear on who you are and where you want to go, how did you find the process?
“Doing anything that you are not certain about is the scariest thing. Following your dreams seems so daunting but it is actually simple. The bigger picture may scare you but have a goal and take one small step. Once you get the ball rolling, the next step arrives. It’s all in the taking of the first step. Everyone has it in them but it’s only the first small step that you need to take.”
“It is also extremely important that you know yourself and be real about yourself. This means, not only accepting but also embracing all of your flaws. In essence, launching a business you need to be able to let all of you shine and this means even your weird or unusual parts. This is what makes you and your offering authentic. ”
If you want to get in touch with Leon from Unleashed Design, you’ll find him through his website by clicking here : Unleashed Design
Or through their Facebook page, by clicking here : Unleashed Design