african · Entrepreneur · Fashion

Series: Young, Gifted and African – Lauretta Mtike

Having had my blog up and running and creating content for a little while now, I am constantly thinking of ideas for content and various ways in which I can shine a light on my Sierra Leone, but also Africans doing big things in Africa.

For Summer 2017, I will be starting a series – “Young, Gifted and African” featuring very talented individuals, some of whom I am fortunate to call my friends. They are all incredibly talented and are doing remarkable things in various fields such as music, fashion and fashion design, blogging, Youtube, and photography just to name a few. They are building a brand and producing some killer content!

Let’s get straight into our first feature!

Lauretta Mtike is 24 years old and born in Malawi, now currently living in the DRC. She also lived in Kenya for just the same amount of time as I did, if not longer! We met in High School, and have been friends ever since. She is a bubble of energy and her super fun loving personality makes it hard not to love her.

Lauretta has always had a passion for fashion and in 2015 she created Vivietta Designs.

Despite no longer living in Malawi, I asked Lauretta what she loves most about her country.  She said that the scenery in Malawi is unbelievably beautiful and the people are so kind and warm hearted. When asked to describe herself in three words, she said that she is Fun, Adventurous and Vivacious, and I can honestly attest to that!

Talking about her passion, she says “My passion is making clothes… the art of designing and sewing the designs. From as young as I can remember I have always had this passion.” I asked her what drove her to pursue this passion, and turn it into a reality. Lauretta explained that her friends and community inspired her to pursue it -“my friends would always ask me to make them clothes and pretty soon I had other people contact me and ask me to make them clothes as well and before I knew it, I was living out my passion.”

She expressed that her biggest supporter is her uncle. She further explained that she doesn’t really think he fully understands what it is that she does, but he’s always pushing her to achieve more and is the one that has made most of her showcases possible.

In general, Lauretta says she looks up to her mum, and career wise she looks up to Silvia Awori. She went on to say that if she could meet anyone dead or alive, it would be Silvia Awori. “Growing up, she’s the only person I ever looked up to… she has been my role model for pretty much more than half my life – meeting her would be life changing for me.”

Talking about obstacles she has faced during her journey, she says the biggest one would be the non-acceptance and stereotyping of fashion and fashion designers in her country. “Most people do not believe in fashion design as work or take it seriously.  Some even view it as a taboo of some sort and those who do it as uncultured and ill-mannered, which is really sad.”
On the other hand, the most memorable thing to happen to Lauretta she recalls was during her first fashion show. Someone went up to her and told her that they loved her collection and had actually been following her on social media. Lauretta says that at the time, she was “super shocked” because she had only just started and thought only her close friends and family knew about it. “It was a humbling experience” she says.

Talking more about Vivietta designs, Lauretta said that she created the name by combining her name. “My middle name is Vivien, hence the Vivi and then I took the Etta from Lauretta.”

When you are an entrepreneur with a business, it’s important to create goals for your business. So I asked Lauretta where she sees her brand in the next 3-5 years. In the next 3-5 years, she wants to see Vivietta designs in magazines, on models, and taking part in international fashion shows. She said “I see my clothes being available to everyone worldwide through shipping and having 2 or 3 retail shops in different countries.”

In terms of her education and how she plans to combine the two, she says she plans to finish her ACCA course (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and then start her MBA. Combining the two is not going to be difficult, she asserts. She started designing while she was in University and managed just fine –“I created a healthy routine that entertained both designing and my education.”

To lighten things up a bit, I asked Lauretta to confess! To share her most embarrassing moment. “My most embarrassing moment happened recently actually.  There was a fashion show I was to attend and when we got there and set up and everything … no one showed up! That was super embarrassing and frustrating most especially for the organizers but as fashion designers we also felt the sting.” These types of things are bound to happen, but you have to dust yourself off and keep going. I am confident that at the rate Lauretta is progressing, the only way is up from here on out.

Concluding, when I asked Lauretta what advice she would give to someone who is just starting out in a similar field, she had this to say, “My advice would be KEEP PUSHING even when you make mistakes or encounter massive obstacles, just keep on moving and maintain your sense of style and personality – uniqueness is the only way to get ahead in fashion.”

Lauretta will be showcasing some of her designs at the Urban Music Party, that will be hosted in Blantyre and Lilongwe in the coming weeks. If you’re in Malawi, head on down and support ya girl!

 

Follow Lauretta on her personal social media page!

@empress_etta

Do you like the designs showcased in this article? Want to place an order or have a query? Send an email to vivietta_des@gmail.com OR mtikel@gmail.com

Want to have a look at more of her designs? Follow Vivietta Designs!

@vivietta_designs