A Chat with Kabaso Nkanda
Kabaso Nkandu is an international Zambian based fashion designer from the brand house called Nkanda Yatu with the trace of shows in Botswana and South Africa at fashion without boarders and Namibia at Windhoek Fashion Week. He is an environmentalist by profession with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the Mulungushi University. Born and raised in Mwansabombwe district in Luapula Province, from a family of ten.
Nkanda Yatu comes from a strong identity, our brand name is what guides our work. With Nkanda Yatu we wanted to have a name that our customers could connect with. And this name was just prefect because each day people do what it takes to take care of their skin.
His fashion brand Nkanda yatu founded in 2016 means “Our Skin”, just like our skin is used as an identity of who we are as Africans which caters for both male and female. The name gives them their identity and always reminds them of their cultural background. The first showcasing of the brand was at Zambia Fashion Week through a competition ran by Vodafone.
Kabaso Nkandu (Zambian Fashion Designer
- When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
My interest in fashion had begun to grow when I finished High school. In fact, I had even started working towards starting something. However, I was admitted into university and had to choose whether I should go to University or stay and follow my passion. “However, I had to choose school, because I still wasn’t sure if this was really my thing. But everything started to unfold while I was in university, my passion and interest for fashion just grew
- What was your first job out of college, and how did you land that position?
I worked as an environmental education officer, while I was in university, I did a number of internship programs, which allowed me to get a job through the Youth Environment Organization in partnership with Malawi.
- What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
I did not have any formal fashion education but only had the knowledge I gained from reading books and watching YouTube videos.
- How is working in fashion different today than from when you started out?
Its very different because I get to put out my passion through being creative and innovative.
- What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
Social Media is really playing a vital role in promoting creatives to be honest and also helping the brand grow. Social Media is a very powerful tool for a lot of creatives if you know and understand how to use it including your target market
- What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
Fear of failing to make it, because I was starting this career without any fashion education. The only thing I had was my passion and faith in myself and the little knowledge from you YouTube and books.
- What is your favourite part about being a designer?
I get to tell a story about who I am as a designer, because it helps me put out my personality, culture and character into my work.
- How do you want men/women to feel when wearing your clothes?
I want them to look or feel like money. Do you understand that feeling you get when you have money? That’s the feeling I always want my customers to feel. Its actually our hashtag #drippingmoney
- There’s so much pressure for designers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
Brand identification and position is very important for every start up, so that you can understand what kind of brand you want to build and which direction you want to take as a designer. And always be intentional and strategic on how you want the brand to be.
- Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
My biggest mentors are Chishimba Nyambe and MMondeNyambe. They have always spoken the honest truth about the importance of branding, operating independently, owning your own ideas, being a self-sufficient brand and bringing uniqueness to your clients.
- If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be?
Always believe in GOD and yourself.
- Where do you go for inspiration when working on a new design?
Our ideas are mostly from the daily surrounding we live in, the current changes in style in the fashion world and our cultural background including nature which also inspires us.
- What is one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate for your company?
Kabaso is busy crossing borders with his fashion brand Nkandu Yatu and will soon become a house hold name in Africa.
You can get social with him on on the following social media.