Fashion show triumphs despite challenges
Last Friday night, the “Love The Body You’re In” fashion show paraded a mélange of extremes down the poolside runway of Umubano Hotel in Kacyiru.
The entrance of the emcee compounded discomfort with self-flattering antics that failed to draw more than silent scepticism and sour smiles.
Fortunately, fashion came to the rescue.
Patrick Muhire, the organiser of the event and featured designer, says that the show’s goal was to boost self-esteem, foster talent, and develop confidence in Rwandan youth.
“You can be pretty in the clothes you put on, so long as you know what goes well with your skin, with your body.”
Fuelled by a desire to do more than just make clothes, St-Louis launched her line, Dreamyz Loungewear, in Kigali in 2008 and trained a team of twenty Rwandese women to sew and utilize local fabrics to create wearable designs inspired by the fashion of the 1940s and 50s.
St-Louis, Ndutiye, and Umugwaneza’s designs focused on practicality and incorporated subtle notes of African fabric and patterns into classic styles.
“I loved the pieces,” said audience member, Doreen Ruhigisha, “Patrick is really talented, combining European, North American, and African styles. I would wear the dresses off the runway.”
Muhire praises the show’s encouragement of talent from young Rwandan designers, musicians, and models. However, he hesitates to call the show a success because he recognises the significant need for improvement.
“The lighting wasn’t okay,” he stated bluntly, “The hotel didn’t treat us well. The staff were not as professional as they should have been.”
Nevertheless, Muhire is determined to continue in his quest to develop a fashion industry in Rwanda. He believes that fashion is a way of helping Rwandan youth to discover and develop confidence in their talent.
“Youth from the poor and the rich all have talents,” said Muhire, “If they are given the chance to develop their talents, they can go somewhere and be something.”