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Date with a Celeb: Esther meets fashion designer Latif

(Esther Nabalayo, a model with Celebrity Models met the fashion guru at his workshop and school of fashion in Kawempe and they shared industry wolokoso.)

Welcome Esther, this is both my workshop and fashion school. Students from Tiner Beauty school where I teach, come here for internship.

So you also went to fashion school?
Yes, that’s why I teach at Tiner.

I’m your fan, I love your work. Who is Latif? Behind the shows, behind your work, who are you in person?
I’m a simple down-to-earth Ugandan with a creative mind. I won’t even use down-to-earth because for me I live under the earth. Only when you come to my showcases or meet me in person do you know who I really am. I don’t want to be like I’m the one that does what people appreciate! So I’m not down to earth but I’m down under.

And the Rastafarian culture, are you a believer?
Actually, you can call me a Rasta but I don’t claim it. To me it’s not a religion because if I call it a religion then I will be so different from Catholics and Muslims. That’s why I take it like a way of life, just like there are corporates, I am Rastafarian, but I don’t believe in it like a religion. It’s a way of life that I would sell to my friends as the best way to live, it’s not about class and it has nothing to do with an individual’s personality.

I have been to some of your shows and I love those bikinis, what type of models do you make them for?
Ah, I have disappointed so many models and I don’t know if you are one of them. I really do because when it comes to bikinis, not every model qualifies; you know bikinis sometimes need a certain type of model. Bikinis are about showing off someone’s body. Some people even shy away from bikini shows, that’s why we are specific on the features of a model to showcase a bikini. I am always looking for ‘booty’. I am looking for models with flesh because I need people to appreciate, I am not saying skinny or bony models can’t work but I just need something that everyone will look at and like.

And what do you expect from them on the runway?
I expect them to be focused, intelligent, confident and proud to present what they are presenting or wearing. You know models are the advertisers of the art, so if they do it poorly, you won’t attract any buyers and fans won’t come to your show because the presentation was poor.

Do you make everything you wear, or you often visit Owino?
I make everything I wear. From the shoes to the kanzus to the jeans to the headbands, I also make my undergarments – boxers, vests basically everything. I mean I dress bottles, cars why not myself?

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