It was the perfect climax to a week of exquisite fashion at the grand finale of the 2017 CollectiveRW Fashion Week at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village Saturday night.
This year’s edition was bigger and better than the inaugural edition staged last year, with the runway featuring at least ten designers both local and international.
The event was organized by CollectiveRW, an organization of local fashion houses, in collaboration with Illume Creative Studio.
Founded in early 2015, Collective Rwanda works in collaboration with fashion industry experts to promote a more vibrant creative sector to generate new jobs and empower the youth and take Rwandan fashion to the next level.
The event kicked off at 5:30pm with a ‘mix and mingle’ session involving food and beverages in the outdoor beer garden and the specially designated VIP lounge.
Shortly before 9:00 pm, the day’s MCs, Regis Isheja and Kemiyondo Coutinho took to the stage to introduce the runway event.
The seating in the Akagera Hall was organised in rows facing each other, with the white runway snaking through the rows of seats to give fashion enthusiasts an up-close view.
The runway was graced by models donning creations of the four founding members of CollectiveRW, and new members.
The founding members that exhibited are Haute Baso, House of Tayo, Inzuki Designs, and Sonia Mugabo while the new members that showcased their collections were Amizero, which was first on the runway with its extensive snow white collection; Moshions,Ikwiize,Afriek and Uzi Collections.
At about 10:00pm the MCs announced a one hour break and revelers retreated to the outdoor beer garden for yet another mix and mingle session as drinks and food were served.
The show resumed at 11:00 pm, with a complete change of wardrobe for the night’s MCs, who not to be outdone by models, changed into different attires several times. Like the models strutting on the runway, their garments too were designed by some of the designers that were showcasing.
The last segment featured Inzuki Designs, Haute Baso, House of Tayo, and Sonia Mugabo. Internationally acclaimed South African fashion trend setter Laduma Maxhosa also displayed his sensational and colourful Xhosa-inspired knitwear.
His was one of the more outstanding collections, on a night that had its fair share of African prints (Kitengi).
The grand finale came after a week of fashion-related activities that kicked off with a fashion happy hour on June 6 at the Repub Lounge in Kimihurura.
The fashion happy hour also featured a live art demonstration by the designer Cedric Mizero and his team, and a live music session by A Ka Dope with artists Apiro Mio of Uganda and Mike Kayihura of Rwanda.
The happy hour further had a panel discussion featuring creative entrepreneurs from all over the region who shared their experiences.
Laduma Ngxokolo from South Africa, Lamic Kirabo from Uganda, Paul Peter Siniga from Tanzania, Sunny Dolat from Kenya, Kemiyondo Coutinho from Uganda, and Lauren Rwema from Rwanda were all part of the discussion.
The week also featured a Fashion and Cocktail evening at the new Trophy’s Sports Lounge and a modeling master class taught by LDJ Productions, a New York-based production company behind the production of the New York and Miami Fashion Weeks.
At the end of the week of fashion, revelers were satisfied that the CollectiveRW fashion vehicle served to demonstrate the power of linkages and synergies in the fashion industry in particular and the creative economy in general.
The designers came together to strengthen, promote, and develop the fashion industry in Rwanda by fostering talent, originality, and representation at the local, regional, and international scene.
It is comprised of a diverse group of designers who collectively advocate quality workmanship and a commitment to promote clothing and accessories that are ‘Made in Rwanda’.