Nadir Tati is an Angolan criminologist turned renowned African fashion designer. She chartered her course by front-lining the fashion industry at a time when war was predominant in the country.
Tati channelled her experience while living Angola, other countries on the continent, the West to make a fashion statement. She blends Western and African cultures and creates narratives using colour and patterns. By harmonising them, she creates styles for Africans and westerners.
In an interview with African Peace. Tai said, “Being a fashion designer helps me to show my culture, values and above all helps me to connect to the world….. my message is always about freedom and peace.
When we talk about the African continent, we talk about blood, and we talk about sadness. The red symbolises blood, black symbolises darkness and yellow happiness. This is the signature from Angola. My fashion language is my textiles; my signature is my African continent.”
Her creative styles have seen her transcend the shores of Africa into the global fashion industry. He clothing has been worn by famous people like Maria Borges, Leila Lopes, Rachael Mwanza (actress) and Angola’s current First Lady Ana Dias Lourenço.
Styling Rachael Mwanza for the 2013 Oscars’ Best Foreign Film Award made Tai the first Angolan and African stylist of an Oscars nominee. This marked the beginning of her career in the international fashion industry.
She ascribed her success to not repeating styles. She said, “A big part of my success comes from the fact that I never repeat creations – everything is bespoke. We have a lot of rich people here, but when they spend, they spend because they’re looking forexclusivity. “
How it all started
Nadir Tati is the only girl out of her parents’ five children. After obtaining her degree in Sociology and Criminology in South Africa, she did her post-graduate studies in Criminology in Hamburg and master’s degree in Mexico City.
She said, “Mexico was a country that helped me to study not only crimes but fashion design, and Cancun was my first experience at fashion week.”
Afterwards, she travelled to Europe just before the end of the civil war in Angola that lasted for 27 years. While in Europe, she worked in the fashion industry. There, she harnessed and gained more experience in the field.
Seeing how evolved the fashion space in Europe is, she decided to return to Angola. On her return, she founded the fashion brand Nadir Tati, Lda, in 2003.
Upon her return, she tried to reform the Angolan fashion industry to be recognised and be on par with the world. However, it was not a walk in the park for her, especially in a country that lacks a structured fashion industry.
“I think working in Angola’s fashion sector is one of the most difficult things to do. I often have to explain to people here what my job as a fashion designer means. Fashion has always been part of society in Europe and the United States. In Angola, it is something we’re only learning now,” says Nadir Tati.
Notwithstanding the lack of finance and recognition of the fashion industry, she built her brand with years of consistent fashion delivery. This made her one of the best designers in Angola and Africa, with an attire worth about $6,000 to $10,000.
In recognition of her work, she won the award for Best Designer in Angola for three successive years, from 2010 to 2012. She received the Angola Diva of Fashion in 2011 and 2012 and the Angola Diva of the Year in 2012.
Nadir Tati also received the 2013 Prestigious Sirius Award given to Angolan personalities in recognition of her excellence in business and the industry and for having raised the name of Angola on the world’s runways. In countries such as New York, Lisbon and Berlin.
Through her work, she is also an advocate for African art, human rights, and disadvantaged children.
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