Namibian designer, stylist, tailor, and self-proclaimed hipster, Lourens Gebhardt, who goes by Loux The Vintage Guru, is a dapper man about town. Loux lives for the vintage way of life as well as promoting African fashion throughout Namibia, the rest of Africa and the world. Working alone and sometimes with the Khumbula Fashion Collective in Johannesburg, who use fashion to tell the African story their way, Loux is an inspiration and driving force of the budding African vintage and fashion design movement. We talked to Loux about his inspiration, African prints and the need for more support to bring the African fashion industry to the next level and give it a global platform.
Lola Who: When did you start designing?
Loux: I started designing three years ago.
Lola Who: What are your biggest cultural influences and fashion icons?
Loux: My cultural influences are derived from our African heritage; mostly from prints and vintage.
Lola Who: What’s your process when designing pieces?
Loux: First of all, I walk around the city to get inspiration. After this, I would then create a mood board. From the mood board, I would sketch my design, do pattern drafting, and take it to my tailors for stitching.
Lola Who: Can you tell us a bit about the history and stories of your favourite African prints?
Loux: African prints have started making headlines. We also see them at New York fashion week, etc. To me, they are important because the vibrancy and the multicoloured quality symbolises unity not only in Africa as a whole but around the world. The different ethnic groups and cultures that we have are represented by the colours in an African print fabric.
Lola Who: You talked about designing to please yourself as a designer, not other people. How important do you think this is as an artist?
Loux: I am referring to the clothes that I design for myself when I talk about pleasing my own self. If I design for a client, then my clients should be happy. This is an important aspect in the fashion industry. Clients should be happy with what they are wearing as it is part of a marketing tool for creatives like us.
Lola Who: Why the name Loux The Vintage Guru?
Loux: My name is Laurenstius. I shortened it to Lourens and from Lourens, I shortened it to Loux. “The Vintage Guru” part came in because I love wearing vintage clothes. Vintage is my lifestyle.
Lola Who: Is there a big vintage clothing market in Namibia?
Loux: There is no big vintage market here, I normally shop in Johannesburg.
Lola Who: Are you still collaborating with Khumbula?
Loux: Yes, I am still working and collaborating with them. In fact, I am a member of Khumbula. “Khumbula” is a Zulu word meaning “remember”.
Lola Who: Who would your ideal creative partner be?
Loux: I would like to partner up with Mr. Lino Ieluzzi.
Lola Who: What are your favourite cities to collect vintage pieces?
Loux: My favourite places to shop vintage clothes are Johannesburg, Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya. These places are heaven.
Lola Who: Do you feel that there is a way to generate more support for your work and the work of other African designers?
Loux: Yes, there is more support needed, both from our families and friends as well as from the corporate world. I am talking about assistance in any way that can contribute to uplifting the fashion world here.
Lola Who: Your first fashion show was in 2014. What has the last year looked like for you, and what’s in store for the rest of 2015?
Loux: 2014 was an amazing year. People loved my creations and showed real support. In 2015, I will leave it to God to lead the way.