Relatives, friends and clients say Rehoboth’s late well-known fashion designer, Sean Renaldo Cloete’s talent will always be remembered.
Cloete (40), who died on 4 January at St Mary’s Hospital at Rehoboth, had “energy, kindness and talent”, they say.
Cloete made waves in the fashion industry internationally, having made it to the London Fashion week.
Cloete also participated in various fashion shows and workshops with local and international designers, like Sathal from France, at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre.
He also co-hosted a design management workshop at design outfit Pambili with acclaimed designer Chakirra Claasen.
Cloete participated in the Miss Namibia Young Designer’s Workshop, where he worked under the supervision of Cobus Möller.
He has also showcased his work at the America’s Finest Culture and Fashion Season Two show in 2014, and designed two cocktail dresses for the Miss Namibia pageant in 2015.
“Growing up, he loved to draw. His drawings were beautiful. I wanted him to become an artist who draws, but he followed the fashion path.
“He loved fashion. He was focused on his work. He stayed up nights to work.
He always wanted all his pieces to be neat and perfect. He was determined to never disappoint his clients,” his mother, Christina, says.
She says Cloete designed some matric farewell dresses for pupils in Grade 12 at Dr Lemmer High School at Rehoboth.
Christina says his pieces were affordable, because he wanted to accommodate the middle-income class.
Marie-Zaan van Wyk, a client, describes Cloete’s style as modern, yet futuristic and unmistakably African.
“I was a great follower of his work. Over the years on social media, I watched as he created different types of wear – be it cocktail, bridal, evening or casual. He just knew how to add that magical touch that made the client stand out,” she says.
Van wyk says Cloete will always be remembered for helping others.
He made people look great for special occasions, and also hosted a fashion workshop, she says.
“At the workshop he was sharing his experience in the fashion business with his fellow youth at Rehoboth. The workshop was aimed at teaching unemployed Rehoboth youths basic design skills, sewing, pattern construction, draping, etc.
“The trainees also learned how to work effectively with various fabrics. For Cloete the workshop was a way of giving back to the community and uplifting them,” van Wyk says.
“Cloete motivated others by saying it may seem hard, but you have to push through all the negativity and obstacles,” she says.
Möller says Cloete displayed great potential as a fashion designer.
“As his mentor, I had the privilege of witnessing his passion and talent for fashion design. His enthusiasm made him an excellent young designer with a promising future. It is unfortunate to lose such a unique designer,” he says.
Severius Majiedt from the VGK Rehoboth church says Cloete worked hard to make Rehoboth and Namibia proud.
“We have lost a lot by his passing. He made Rehoboth proud by his vision.
We were always filled with awe by his amazing pieces. His designs had the potential to transform any ugly duckling into a beautiful swan,” he says.
Christina says Cloete enjoyed gardening and being around animals.
“He would ask the street kids to come and clean his garden, and in return he would pay them and give them food. He cared for a lot of people, was friendly and always showed respect. I loved him and everyone loved him,” she says.
Florence Beukes, a relative and friend of Cloete, says: “We bonded a lot during his last months. He would often ask me to come sing for him so he can fall asleep. I would often play the guitar for him. Doing that for him was a real honour for me,” she says.
In a previous interview with The Namibian, Cloete’s message to other entrepreneurs and fashion designers was: “If you have a passion for what you believe in, go for it. Don’t let anyone stand in your way. You are your own future. At times, it may be hard, but always be strong, trust yourself and believe that you can reach and do anything if you put your mind to it.”
Cloete’s funeral will take place on Saturday
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