Self-taught Motswana fashion designer for AnshiNeo Garments, Neo Anshi Oabile has completed a challenge of making 24 garments under eight different themes. The project was shot by seven different local photographers from May 1, to May 24, 2021.
“I have been doing a series of sharing an outfit a day across my social media platforms. This project was meant to do something unique and help both me and the photographers put our work out there. But due to financial issues we couldn’t sponsor all the posts for the coverage we wanted,” she told Arts and Culture in an interview.
Oabile admitted that business had been bad since the year 2021 began and she found herself drowning in depression. “I thought I was a failure because I had messed up with school and would have no achievement at age 24. I had always looked forward to my 24th birthday because I thought it would be an iconic day to celebrate 24 years of age on the 24th day of the month having 24 hours of the day to just celebrate my life. I wanted something unique hence the idea of 24 outfits for my 24th birthday to share on social media every day from May 1 till May 24,”she revealed.
Oabile said somehow she ended up thinking further into the idea and then transformed it into a project where she worked with different photographers. “It was going to be very costly and I wasn’t going to be able to pay for the photoshoots. In March this year I approached some photographers about the idea, some were interested some not so much, I understood because we are all trying to make profits from every work we do. The budget was tight but I still needed to do the project that would communicate with my audience and keep them tuned in for the next garment,” she further indicated.
The talented designer proudly said the garment making process was always fun starting with the drafting of the illustration sketches. Oabile also said the project in particular was a challenging one because making 24 outfits was no piece of cake. She also revealed that ideas were not the problem, but it was reducing the idea into a garment under small budget that was the challenge.
“There were a few times during the project when I wanted to give up. I spent days and nights at my workshop trying to put together the garments but some were just not coming together
Then there were the photoshoots which were not entirely in my control, some photographers abandoned me last minute and some could not deliver the pictures after the shoots for different reasons. The Project was the most beautiful learning curve I’ve been on and I’m grateful to the photographers for working with me and helping make this project come together,” she highlighted.
Looking back, Oabile revealed that from a younger age she had always been into arts as she crafted birthday and mother’s day cards for her mother. “As for fashion I was always intrigued and found myself enjoying TV shows about fashion and lifestyle, I would picture myself in the dresses I saw. Fashion was just a fantasy to me”.
As she pursued a degree in Biology and Chemistry at the University of Botswana in 2017, Oabile realized she was not in a place she belonged. After joining modelling in 2018 Oabile said she found her calling as she partook in fashion shows. “I believed what I saw other fashion designers do was something I could do as well so towards the end of 2018 I bought a domestic sewing with my student allowance money and started practicing using YouTube videos. It’s true that “practice makes perfect” so my skills improved with more practice,” she recalled. After failing her studies and being unable to continue in 2019, Oabile carried on with her passion for fashion and now she is giving it the attention and nurturing it deserves.
Her brand, AnshiNeo Garments is a local clothing line that explores fashion as both a lifestyle and business. The line caters for both genders, young and old, casual and formal wear. The fashion style that describes AnshiNeo Garments is ‘Classy and Elegant’. AnshiNeo Garments focuses more on making garments that complement the wearer rather than standing out as artworks on a model.
Themes and their photographers for the project are, Military- Eagle Digital Productions, The Millenial Bride- Tshepo Oabile, Black Blood Fantasy- Son Of Mua, Paint ME Fabrics- Tshepo Oabile, Silver Meteorite- BK’SPHOTOGRAPHY415, Denim Festival - Das The Photographer, 300.B.C- Orbit Studios BW and Mermaid - Dean Tutwane.