How Mbabazi intends to empower women using head wraps

Last week, 23 year-old Yvette Mbabazi, launched her new brand Icyeza. Dubbed ‘Wrap it up’ the event brought together over 40 women to learn the basics of headwraps, the different styles and also share stories.
Yvette Mbabazi demonstrates how do a head wrap. Sam Ngendihimana.
Yvette Mbabazi demonstrates how do a head wrap. Sam Ngendihimana.

Last week, 23 year-old Yvette Mbabazi, launched her new brand Icyeza. Dubbed ‘Wrap it up’ the event brought together over 40 women to learn the basics of headwraps, the different styles and also share stories. She had a chat with Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa on the motivation behind Icyeza and how she intends to use head wraps to empower women.

Tell us about your brand Icyeza

It’s a head wrap brand which I created to inspire women and motivate them to express their uniqueness and beauty. ‘Wrap it up’ was meant to launch Icyeza and bring women together, share their different stories and learn the basics of head wraps. I believe that head ties are part of our culture which many women like but are not conversant on how to use them.

Why head wraps?

For me a head wrap is a crown and I believe that every woman regardless of size, skin or color, is a queen that deserves the crown, not to merely look beautiful but also to wear it with dignity and pride. For me a head wrap expresses all of that because when I started wearing it, I felt something different.

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Yvette Mbabazi (L) with a client at the event.Courtesy. 

I felt beautiful and strong and it became my everyday reminder that I have to work hard, shine and hold my head high with dignity. It’s a precious accessory that every woman should own because it gives us value as African women.

When and how did you develop love for the head tie?

I grew up seeing my mother doing the head wrap every day. She used to match the head wrap with her outfit and I loved it. I was raised in Gisenyi where head ties were a common thing among women. I became obsessed with them although I couldn’t wear them as they were considered for adults.

When I turned 18, I decided to try it even when I was not good at it. I played with my mother’s head wraps, helping her sometimes and in the process learned several styles. It later became my identity and now I don’t have to wear matching outfits like it was in the past. I can rock any outfit with the head wrap and I’m happy that young people are embracing this timeless trend.

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Young women at the ‘Wrap it up’ event last week.Courtesy. 

My obsession with the head wraps encouraged me to share it with other ladies. I used to do different head wrap styles with my friends and they loved it. They were eager to learn the styling techniques and that is how I got the idea of organising ‘wrap it up’. I’m glad that I am sharing my skills.

What is the overall objective of Icyeza?

Icyeza represents brave, beautiful, and smart women. I am currently selling head wraps, that I design by myself, online together with different accessories that make the head wrap fancier like earrings.

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Young women at the ‘Wrap it up’ event last week.Courtesy. 

I also believe that with time, I will be able to work with different women because I want to empower and inspire women as the company grows. I will be able to work with women in rural areas, provide employment and improve their lives.

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