MWINDA means “LIGHT”. More specifically “the traditional African Petrol lamp” in Kitunba/Lingala language in Congo. The brand is a mixture of comtemporary yet vintage with inspiration of the beautiful African culture.
Joëlle Ngolatsie is a Congolese fashion designer and founder of Mwinda. Raised between Congo-Brazzaville and South Africa, currently based in Dubai. The young and dedicated designer is a business management major, her Passion for fashion cultivated right from childhood. The Mwinda woman is independent, confident, classy, sexy in a modest and captivated way, she is unique and extremely aesthetical soul.
THE INTERVIEW WITH JOËLLE NGOLATSIE FOR 33 MAGAZINE
Describe your brand in 5 words?
MWINDA is, Bold, Creative, Versatile, Elegant, Original.
Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I was a fashion designer way before I even knew it was an actual job. I don’t think I chose to become one, although if I could choose I would. I was just born with the beautiful gift of creativity and design. And thank God my passion is an actual profession.
How your brand’s mission evolved starting with your first collection?
My brand’s mission was and still is to bring to life African inspirations into a modern and elegant design. My first collection was a learning process it was free and unapologetic as I had never done it before so I just did what felt right. My second collection is more meticulous, I still yearn to translate my thoughts, memories and culture deliberately in a beautiful way but I am more disciplined this time around and I find myself stretching my abilities, thoughts, ideas.
In your experience, what are some of the other negative points regarding fashion design schools?
I’ve never been to Fashion school and do not see it as an obligation. The only negative point to me is that it is sometimes overrated and non goers designers are sometimes belittled which is absurd to me.
How sustainability can change fashion industry? Do you think we can see, in the next future, a positive change regarding sustainable design?
The Fashion industry is one of the most countable industry world wide, but it also has major negative effects on the environment when it comes to how clothes are disposed. Sustainability would make fashion more enjoyable as our conscience would be at peace from the atrocity we the industry might be causing. Yes I do see more brands joining the movement as I think everyone that is in this industry must be affected in some way and slowly but surely would adjust to the eco fashion way.
In your opinion, will it be the consumer who will facilitate the change in the supply chain or will it be the design and manufacturing industry?
I think it would be the consumer, more so than the manufacturing industry.
What should a customer expect when buying your brand?
They should expect their purchase to truly be unlike anything else they have in their closet. And I’m sure the quality and details of my garments would be a pleasant surprise. They might wonder how a measuring tape was translated into well designed garments.
What was the biggest challenge for you as a designer?
Marketing is underrated. It still is a challenge to me but I’m getting my head around it.
Would you like to showcase your collection in one of the most important fashion weeks around the world?
Absolutely, by God’s grace very soon.
What we should expect next from you?
The unexpected, as I don’t even know what else I hold in my spirit, what other designs will come to life.
What drives your inspiration for your design?
Élégance, strong women, and when I see a customer wearing MWINDA it inspires me to design her next outfit.