Local designer heads to France

After becoming a mother at 21 and having to put her fashion design studies on hold, good fortune has found its way to this ambitious designer: The opportunity to showcase her fashion at the 2019 Paris Fashion Week.

14 April 2019 | People

Nicole Schmidt completed her high school education at St Paul's in 2014, and according to her, she always knew that she wanted to be a designer. This led her to pur­suing her Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Design at Fedisa Cape Town.

However, her time there was cut short when she became pregnant in her second year and had to return home.

“The first year of raising my son was a time for me to regain my sense of purpose and rediscover who I am apart from being a mother of now one-year old Eli,” she says. She also invested much of her time in endeavours to practice what she had learnt during her time as a student.

“A major milestone for me was participating in the 2018 Namibian Fashion Week,” she says.

Her participating was thanks to her uncle who fully funded her project. This further led to her and her cousin, Stephany-Lee Schmidt, being noticed by the Oxford Fashion Studio, and being invited to showcase their collections at the Paris Fashion Week slated for September 2019.


Nicole describes her work as being inspired by beautiful as well as difficult life moments, both in which she finds solace. “There are so many significant small moments that go unnoticed, like a warm cup of coffee on a rainy day and seeing sun rays caressing the face of a loved one. I appreciate these moments through my pieces,” she adds.

Nicole is equally inspired by Parisian architecture and style, as she is attracted to the French language, landscape and culture. She describes her style as effortlessly sexy, classy and timeless, with an emphasis on being comfortable in one's own skin and enhancing beauty and identity.

She says this makes one stand out but also exudes a form of mystery. “I tend to use neutral colours over bright ones, in line with creating timelessness.”

In the next 10 years Nicole sees herself making her mark in the fashion industry and raising a happy family.

In addition, she aspires to be a founder of a non-profit charity organisation for Namibian children. “I want to make a positive change to the minds of children, because the mind has the ability to limit us from a better future,” she says.

She sees herself owning a proudly Namibian fashion house. And “I see myself living a wholesome, happy life.”

Life as a mom

When asked what it's like to be a young mother with dreams of her own and what challenges she faces from societal stereotypes, she said: “It is a paradox. The hardest, yet most natural thing. It is challenging because sacrifices need to be made; sleep, comfort, freedom, financial obligations, regaining your once youthful body, time, friends, decision-making, old hobbies and activities.”

Then there are also the mental challenges, like rediscovering the essence of who she was and who she is becoming, in the face of her new role as a mother.

On the question of whether she will be able to complete her studies owing to limited cash flow and an absence from her son as she returns to Cape Town, also poses difficulties.

Also, a career in the fashion industry is often perceived as a risk. She has seen that it is a very labour-intensive industry which, if balance cannot be achieved, can threaten your family life.


Nicole commended Poiyah Media for helping her source funds for her trip to Paris.

According to the founder of Poiyah Media, Ilke Platt, “we are good at spotting raw and real talent. Nicole applied as an intern and within two months, she shared this wonderful news with us. We intend creating awareness around her and invite the public, especially the corporate sector, to assist through their CSR projects.

“We would like to thank the French embassy who already reached out and invited our team for a luncheon to recognise this mammoth accomplishment,” she said.

For more information or to make a contribution, contact Poiyah Media at [email protected]

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