A dynamic identity-building process contributing to Namibian couture design

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesis


This dissertation sets out to describe the processes and dynamics at play in the
development of a couture design range that attempts to engage with, and enhance
notions of Namibian identity. While the end product of the practical work is a range of
garments that speaks to and reflects a possible Namibian identity, the dissertation
engages with the notions of identity and the dynamics of identity building, and the closer
interrelationships with the creative process. The study intend to investigates design and
design-related issues and how they impact on fashion design and couture design as well
as how they relate to the identity formation processes in the development and justification
of a possible Namibian couture collection. Therefore, the creative development process,
the choices, negotiations and adaptations that the designer involves herself with, are
described and then drawn through to the nature of new identity formations. The design
process is measured against the basic design theories as outlined in the relevant chapters
in the dissertation. The study reveals that Namibian individual identities are shaped by
juxtaposing indigenous cultural identities in combination with what is “imagined” [as
Anderson (2006:6-7) explained] to be a “Namibian” national identity. It considers how the
designer, embedded in the design process, but also part of a particular identity, interacts
with these tensions. The dissertation attempts to isolate material elements in the
Namibian landscape that can be used in the identity-building process. It argues that the
same Namibian material hallmarks of identity, the specific design elements that have been
identified as “authentic” Namibian, have been used in this specific couture collection.
Finally the study investigates how these design elements (both generic and specific)
relate to the specific Namibian design element aspects in an attempt to see whether this
specific couture collection contributes to “defining Namibian couture design”.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Tshwane University of Technology
Award date19 Dec 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoEC publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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