CANADA X NAMIBIA | Lucian Matis x Omba Arts Trust



Lucian Matis has created a gown made with a wool blend fabric, and embellished with black Swarovski upcycled crystals, inspired by the most recent oil spill in the East China Sea and the destruction caused to our oceans and ecosystems. To accompany the gown, a classic roll necklace was created by three Ju/’hoansi groups living in the eastern region of Namibia. The method for creating the beads is believed to date back 60,000 years, using ostrich eggshells that are broken in to small pieces, clipped into circles and pierced with a hole. The beads have been heated to create different colours, from a pale grass tone through to black.

Lucian Matis

Lucian Matis is a Toronto-based womenswear designer whose eponymous label features elegant daywear and eveningwear with couture-quality embellishment. Born in Romania, he perfected these intricate hand-sewing techniques working alongside his mother in her tailor shop. Matis studied fine arts in Europe before immigrating to Canada in 2007, where he attended Ryerson’s fashion design program in Toronto. Since the launch of his first collection in 2007, his designs have been featured in national and international publications, including FASHION and WWD, and worn by celebrities and VIPs like Nelly Furtado, Iman and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Among his many industry accolades, Matis has been nominated three times for the CAFAs Womenswear Designer of the Year award.

Omba Arts Trust

Founded in 1991, Omba Arts Trust is an NGO that supports sustainable livelihoods in marginalized communities, through craft development and marketing. To create the Fashion Exchange look, the Trust looked to the San community, living in the eastern region of Namibia, living on either government managed ‘Resettlement farms’ or in ‘Communal conservancy’ areas. The San are indigenous hunger-gatherers representing the first nation of Southern Africa, which spans Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The San used to be semi-nomadic, moving seasonally to find water and food, but have adapted to various livelihood options today that include agriculture, livestock, craft, tourism and harvesting devils claws. Omba facilitates local and international fair trade through its mentoring with artisans, helping them with product development, marketing and supply chain management.