Hello Miss Reneta Nwonori Ndisang, you are a young fashion designer. You have created your brand Mareta West. Why this name ? Tell us more about you.
Thank you..Mareta West,I got the name from my name and mum Maureen and Reneta and I made it Mareta but West is because I use African fabrics to make modern and classic designs..I have been doing this since 2010.
Have you always been passionated by fashion ? Did your family support you ?
I have been passionate by fashion,I come from a family were everyone loves something about fashion. Colours,Nature and lifestyle does inspires me..Yes they did some way..My mum bought me a sewing machine as a way of supporting me,even though she wasnt totally into the fact that i should do this..They wanted me to be a Journalist.
I have had many obstacles through out my journey and I take them to be a stepping way forward.
In Cameroon, it is known, there is a lot of dressmakers, we can found them easily in our towns. According to you, do you think people understand there difference between a dressmaker and a stylist ? How do you demark yourself ?
Ok there is a differences, Dress makers are tailors, Designers are those who vision and get inspired to by anything and they sketch out their inspiration in the form of a dress, Stylist is that person who can play with clothes, shoes, accessories, he or she can be able to put all this together and make a beautiful look.
Now, I will say something, personally when I started I get my inspiration on papers and I still do, I make sure its realise and I sell them, but at one point in time, I went out of my trade and it affected me a lot, because clients will come and I will just do what they want and forgetting I have my own design trends which I want the world to wear…But thank God I realised that and as from this Dec 2016 on wards,I have decided to let my designs trend as well esp for events..So if a client is coming for her dress to be made, it has to be Mareta West Design…
Do you have any training in styling or are you self-taught ? Also, have you encountered any obstacles during your carreer ?
The only training I had was with Anrette Ngafor from Liiber London, she saw my work in 2010 sketched on paper and she told me, u can do this…But the rest was self taught and till date I am still teaching myself and hey there is also social media, were I read from designers like Ralph and Russo, Elie Saab, Stephan Roland and many more designers and from Africa; Christie Brown, Liiber London, Koko Nanga, April by Kudi, Kibonen NY and many more, I learn from their collections and inspirations. I have had many obstacles through out my journey and I take them to be a stepping way forward.
We should stop copying other peoples work but rather get more creative so that our designs to can get trendy.
You have a particular way of making necklaces. The famous singer Daphne and the rapper Ciana have wore them… How do you define your style ? Where do you find the inspiration ?
I call it bib necklace,Yes I got inspired in 2013 0r 2014, when I was feeding my neighbours child. You know the bib they put on a child’s neck so all the particles should drop on it,that’s what inspired me, I was like what if I make a necklace like this, I think it will look classy and can be worn for any event and there I go, I bought raw beads and the other materials and I made one…Daphnes team called me for her photoshoot and they wanted her to look different and that necklace was the first thing that came to my mind.
Do you think Cameroon is a country where designers like you are easily successful? What can be improved to help young people in fashion?
Yes nothing is impossible. We can get successful but the best way to do that, is by identifying the type of designer we are (which is something I recently realised) is it casual, haute couture etc and then practicing that so we don’t go out of line, secondly we should stop copying other peoples work but rather get more creative so that our designs to can get trendy (Personally I did this copy thing and like I said,I realised I was letting other peoples work trend while mind was just there,so I decided this November which I have started putting into practice,not to do any designs if not Mareta West). I wish we all can get that as designers. Now our finishings, another mistake we all make me inclusive, if we can work on that..Now if we do all this,our clients will know what they like and etc…
It’s known that having clothes from a stylist costs ! What are your target customers? Aren’t you afraid that most Cameroonians cannot afford to buy your creations?
I am moderate, but honestly every designer knows what it is they have spend. Personally, I buy very expensive fabrics and some of us have workers to pay. If you can afford a Chinese gawn for 30 000 FCFA it means you can afford a designer dress as well. I recently did my experiment..I went from on shop to another asking prices of cloths, behold the prices was same as some designers sell their products. A business person most be able to risk it to succeed.
Where are you based ? Where can we see your work ? Do you often organise parades ?
I am base in Buea. From 2017, I will be organising offline sales for my products. I go for shows like Cameroon Fashion week, but I am still planning.
If you had young Cameroonians in front of you, who like fashion like you, but are afraid to become a designer, what would you tell them to convince them?
I have met many all I tell them, you can do it. Just determination and get ready to risk it.
Finally, what message would you like to pass on to Cameroonians?
Dont give up, be strong, believe in your dream and if you have something you are passionate about, turn it into business.