These days, more than ever before, our collective society seeks balance between the stimulation of both the left and right brain. While one is always dominant, inherently we all have a bit of both – the left brain being the logical, pragmatic and rational side, and the right brain being the creative, divergent, and eccentric side. Left brains help our world function optimally; right brains make it worth living in.
Enter Penehafo Vaeta, a lawyer by profession, and stylist by necessity. In a blazer and chunky loafers, this pint-sized Ongwediva native is trailblazing the local fashion scene with elevated minimalism and a headstrong sense of professionalism.
Stylist to Namibian stars, Penehafo has worked in commercial, corporate and print media, to name but a few. One of her favourite projects to date was conceptualising edgy looks for local artist Lioness’ Tala music video, a venture for which she was granted plenty of creative carte blanche, and a swanky budget to bring her visions to life. In true left-brain fashion, her process begins with a comprehensive understanding of the client’s needs, followed swiftly by a presentation detailing research, reference and attention to hair and makeup – styling elements that truly complete a look.
Well versed in the avenues of the industry, Penehafo has been styling since 2017. She draws a good deal of inspiration from her sister, who Penehafo says is the most rational shopper and dresser she has ever come across. Her sibling’s once-a-year shopping spree has undoubtedly driven the stylist to a more minimalist approach, something we can all take notes on. Penehafo’s portfolio has grown to include big-gun corporates like MTC and Nedbank, as well as the everyday individual in need of a polished look for black-tie and social events.
While she is (very) small in stature, Penehafo is not letting anyone walk over her, particularly fashion designers who don’t meet her high standard of timeousness and attention to detail. She has a cherry-picked roster of trusted designers who, if the deadline allows, creates one-of-a-kind garments for Penehafo’s clients. In this space, the stylist also dabbles in designing, sketching out ideas to aid the unique creations. Her pragmatic nature manifests in control over every aspect of the stylist job description, reaching as far as the finish on a hem. Penehafo winces at unintentionally puckered fabric. Distressed fabric stresses her out.
Her daytime profession as a lawyer forces Penehafo to dress rather rigidly, noting that an outfit often either pulls in or pushes out a seat at the table. But this fashionista makes due with the limitations of her profession and is slowly integrating more colour and playfulness in her free-time wardrobe. Penehafo says her die-hard staples remain a flare denim, white button-up and classic blazer. And, of course, a stylish pair of sunglasses because she never forgets about the details.
She offers a range of services from creative consulting and event styling to costume design and visual art direction. The stylist’s dream client, unsurprisingly, is the one and only queen Beyoncé. Stating that if Penehafo had her hands on what the mogul wears, the fashion police would let her reign free.
Penehafo is every bit a passionate lawyer as she is an inspired stylist, hoping to never forfeit one profession for the other. If you happen to be caught up in the corporate world, may you find a side hustle that challenges creativity and vice versa. We are taking notes from Penehafo on a brilliantly balanced brain stimulus.