FOCUS ON MWINDA: A Talk with Joëlle Ngolatsie

MWINDA means “LIGHT”. More specifically “the traditional African Petrol lamp” in Kitunba/Lingala language in Congo. The brand is a mixture of comtemporary yet vintage with inspiration of the beautiful African culture.

Joëlle Ngolatsie is a Congolese fashion designer and founder of Mwinda. Raised between Congo-Brazzaville and South Africa, currently based in Dubai. The young and dedicated designer is a business management major, her Passion for fashion cultivated right from childhood. The Mwinda woman is independent, confident, classy, sexy in a modest and captivated way, she is unique and extremely aesthetical soul.


TSCOF: How did your passion for design start and how your creative process work?

I was born with the gift of designing and creativity and when I was little, I would just go through these phases where I would sketch garments that I could see clearly in my mind. I knew what the women dressed in my mind was wearing, how she would accessorise it, even how she would feel, her confidence. My creative process it quite organic, I see it, I draw it and write every details . Then comes the realisation of the drawing to an actual garment. Then I go through fabric stores looking for THEE right textile/fabric. The one that has the perfect feel, the right color, and so on. Then I go through the pattern with my manufacturing team. And finally they assemble it.

TSCOF: How fashion nowadays helps and motivate you to become a fashion designer?

Fashion nowadays has grown so much and the cards has been redistributed thanks to social media and so many, platforms that helps emerging designers. It is motivating to see an emerging designer having their garment worn by so and so celebrity or featured on so and so magazine and have their brands changed. People are opened to wearing more than just a name and that is very hopeful for an emerging designer such as myself.


TSCOF: Can you tell us a little bit about your references for the last collection?

MWINDA SS19: This collection name is « M » It is inspired by the measuring tape, each design stretches and defies our mindset and perception of what is essentially a tool, to a real fashionable garment. MWINDA’s « M » SS19 Revisits the measuring tape utility, is it an eveningwear silk dress straps, a stunning velvet dress belt, or is it repeatedly wrapped around a lucky girls hips as a skirt, perhaps it is a leather belt with a beautiful crystal buckle or gold brass. What is a measuring tape really?MWINDA’s new collection is giving the measuring tape the front stage

TSCOF: Are you sick of people talking about millennials?

It is the first time I hear of it lol so I guess not.

TSCOF: Do you see yourself as a designer for young people, a new generation?

My designs are not age limited or defined by age it is a feeling, an attitude, you can be 18 and elegant or 38 and yearning for creativity.


TSCOF: How fashion competitions can change the business industry? Will you apply at some in the future?

It can be great exposure for the designers brand, it would give more designers the opportunity to be known out there and get noticed. And entertaining for everyone else.Yes I would apply, I think it would also be challenging to my creative process, I would have no choice but to push my limits and see how I work under pressure or conditioned to a specific theme etc… it should be interesting.

TSCOF: How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothes?

I know they will feel confident, because they’ll be wearing an extremely well designed unique piece. Now as to how I want them to feel, I want them to walk, act and feel with confidence and like they own which ever room they walk into, head up with that Beyoncé walk and Angelina Jolie attitude.

TSCOF: What do you think it’s your best-selling piece from your last collection?

From “OSE SS17” it was the “Sylvie trousers”
And from my current collection”M” SS19 it is so far; “L’ensemble” a set i still can’t believe I designed.

TSCOF: What do you think about the opportunity of selling your products on online platforms, you think it might be a good showcase for your work and your future?

My clothes are currently sold online on my website
I would love to sell them through other online platform, because yes it would be a good showcase of my work but also because it would be a different audience and I would love to reach to those MWINDA ladies that I haven’t reached to yet.


TSCOF: What young designers need right now from fashion industry to grow up?

Accessibility. I think established platforms should cut out their high thin walls, prejudices and routines, and give it a break to the “rules” by at least answering to young designers applications, and by giving them a chance. For example how about a try out. Multi-brand stores are saturated by big brands and it is so hard to break in. They should give emerging brands try outs. How about allowing emerging designers 2 to 3 months even more time , to showcase their work in their stores or websites by carrying their brand, spread the word out and see. You never know!

TSCOF: Last song played on your Spotify/iTunes playlist? Who is your favorite artist right now and would you like to see him/her dressed in your collections ?

Last song played was Dena Mwana – Se yo
And yes! Absolutely.

TSCOF: List us three favorite designers / icons who inspire you.

Chanel. Tom Ford. Jacquemus.



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