Mari-Leen Bauermeister: empowering women through fashion

We spotlight Mari-Leen Bauermeister, owner and fashion designer for Mari-Leen Bauermeister, as our #womanfluencer.

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In the world of fashion, there are creators and then there are visionaries. Mari-Leen Bauermeister, the founder of Pattern Sewciety and the eponymous clothing label Mari-Leen Bauermeister, falls firmly into the latter category. Her journey from growing up in the Cape winelands, to a remote Namibian town, to becoming a celebrated fashion designer and a beacon of empowerment for women is a testament to the transformative power of passion, creativity and determination.

From farm life to fashion maven

Mari-Leen’s story begins with a deeply rooted love for fashion, an affection passed down from her late mother, who was a style icon in her own right. Despite her early fascination with fashion whilst growing up in the Cape winelands, Mari-Leen didn’t initially consider it as a career option. Instead, she found herself living on a Namibian farm after her marriage in 2011, far removed from the bustling fashion capitals of the world.

Living in a rural area presented challenges but also opportunities. It was during this time that Mari-Leen embraced her creative side and began exploring her long-held desire to learn pattern making and design. Online learning, a burgeoning trend at the time, allowed her to acquire the skills she needed. In 2018, she launched Pattern Sewciety, a platform that provided pdf sewing patterns and in 2019, her own clothing label, Mari-Leen Bauermeister.

Rising to recognition

Mari-Leen’s rise in the fashion industry is a testament to her talent and dedication. Within a short span, her creations graced the runways of Windhoek Fashion Week and she had the privilege of dressing South African celebrities, including Christi Panagio and Leandie du Randt. In 2022, she received a prestigious nomination as Fashion Designer of the Year in Namibia.

Speaking about her journey, Mari-Leen shared her belief that fashion isn’t just about clothing but is a means to empower women. “I like to think that my business not only contributes to the lives of the people wearing my clothes but also to the lives of the people that make it.” Her commitment to empowering women extends to her team, where she emphasises continuous skill development and empowerment.

Overcoming challenges and inspiring others

Mari-Leen’s journey wasn’t without its obstacles. Living in a remote area posed logistical challenges, especially when it came to sourcing materials and fulfilling orders. However, her determination and passion led her to overcome these hurdles. She eventually relocated to Upington with her three young children, which significantly eased the logistical aspects of her business.

Beyond her success in the fashion world, Mari-Leen is also an advocate for making a positive impact in the lives of others. She believes that small, everyday actions, such as complimenting another woman, teaching a new skill, or sharing a smile, can make a significant difference. Her life motto reflects this sentiment: “Do what you love.” Mari-Leen emphasises the importance of passion in achieving success and leaving a lasting impact.

In a world often consumed by work, Mari-Leen stresses the importance of balance. She encourages prioritising not just career goals but also cherished moments with loved ones, as well as pursuing personal interests and hobbies. Her philosophy is a reminder that life is short and finding joy in the journey is just as important as reaching the destination.

Mari-Leen’s story is one of determination, creativity and empowerment. From a small Namibian town, she built a brand that resonates not only in Namibia but also in South Africa. Her dedication to empowering women, both through her fashion creations and her commitment to personal growth, showcases the true essence of a #womanfluencer. Mari-Leen’s journey reminds us that passion, perseverance and positivity can transform dreams into reality and inspire others along the way.

Follow her on these social media channels:

Instagram: Marileenbauermeister

Instagram: Pattern Sewciety

Website: Mbauermeister


Also read our features on other inspiring women: Lizelle Mostert: healing hearts and minds through Reiki, Lisa Volker: beacon of empowerment and inspiration, Nandi Lessing-Venter: igniting young minds through books and Jackie Gagiano – triumph after tragedy.