There are neither formal nor informal training programmes for young aspiring fashion entrepreneurs in Tanzania today. Young people have an enthusiasm for fashion but not the necessary training or skills to create and market their own products successfully. Naledi Fashion House Director, Kemi Kalikawe has been working with young aspiring designers, through WaPi (a British Council Arts Initiative) for 3 years. She is often asked for guidance and advice about how to progress in the industry – any kind of information or help is eagerly received.
There is no central point of entry where young designers can turn to, be it for quick advice or for more comprehensive training courses. This lack hinders the development of the Tanzanian fashion industry and the jobs that it could provide. Naledi Fashion House has set up Naledi Fashion Institute (NFI) – a registered non-profit organisation, that will provide not only training, but also an opportunity for networking, as well as in the future a space to exhibit the works of aspiring fashion entrepreneurs. Different organizations like Alliance Française, British Council, Goethe Institut, Tanzania Gatsby Trust and Swahili Fashion Week have started similar ventures before, but mostly these have been short, one-time programmes that last a few days to a week and that arguably don’t reach groups that most require training.
Naledi Fashion House strongly believes in the potential of young Tanzanians to contribute to the country’s development in all areas, including fashion design and other cultural expressions. The mission of Naledi Fashion Institute is to provide students with an experience that blends career preparation and an education in freethinking design. The complete course cycle will run for 5 months for full-time students, during and after this students can take additional short courses. Part-time students can choose between 1 day to 4 week courses. Duration will be varied depending on course requirements. Overall, the programme will give the students the knowledge, skills and capacity needed to penetrate and influence the emerging fashion industry in Tanzania and eventually further afield. NFI is designed to develop knowledge and skills through short courses and master classes. Internships and mentoring will also be emphasized as a key to developing the necessary skills to prosper in the fashion business world.