One on One with Namibia’s Retro Fashion Sensation
WITH old styled western suit jackets, round spectacles, timeless fedora hats to custom-made funky socks, the rising tide that is Gweri Vintage Collection is asserting its own identity on the Namibian fashion scene.
Sitting down with Informanté’, the young man behind the visual delight that is Gweri Socks, Pinehas Shikulu, shared his latest collection, as well as the inspiration behind the hipster wear.
Explaining his sense of style as crazy, limitless and reflective of the golden days, Shikulu states that growing up, he always wanted to express himself through fashion and different art mediums, as well as have his own enterprise through art and fashion.
He added that after studying Visual Arts at UNAM, he strived to make this a reality by starting Gweri Vintage Collection, a brand which offers custom made ties, accessories, socks, and digital print art.
The word Gweri is depicted from the term Guerrilla, which means warrior. “I wanted a brand that portrayed warriorship, which is why I called it Gweri Vintage Collection,” Shikulu explained.
The vibrant 27-year-old currently has five different collections of Gweri socks, with designs reflective of the Namibian flag’s colours, national Heroes such as Hendrik Witbooi, the people and their diverse cultures and wildlife.
Responding to backlash he received recently in which he was accused of plagiarising a photograph of a Himba girl and printing it on his socks, Shikulu explained that he gave credit to the photographer and plans to find the Himba girl and give some of the proceeds to her.
“People are pointing the finger at me, however how many foreign photographers or artists come to Namibia and take ideas from our culture and sell them as their own abroad? How many photographers take beautiful pictures of our Himba people and sell them at exorbitant prices without even half of these funds going back to the community?” Shikulu argued.
He added that artists always draw inspiration from each other.
“We didn’t steal the image, we just modified it through digital printing and made it our own,” he stated.