Venturing in the fashion industry in Rwanda is not a walk through the park, especially for young female designers. However, there are young women and men who have worked harder to make a mark in this competitive industry.
Not intimidated by experienced designers, Colombe Ituze Ndutiye has clung to what she believes is her dream and it appears that she will soon become a household name on the fashion scene.
Ndutiye is a Rwandan fashion designer and the founder of INCO, which bears a Kinyarwanda slogan “Icyusa”—Beauty. INCO’s creations range from apparel to accessories and are available through retail stores and orders.
“Our aim is to educate people about our African heritage with diverse range of creations that range from apparel to accessories, available through retail and custom,” she explains.
Ndutiye was driven by the passion of drawing she developed at very young age, but it was not until she met a Belgium designer who gave her some direction that she knew what she wanted to do.
In 2010, her collection was showcased in the African Fashion Fair, one of the biggest fashion events in Kenya. Soon after, INCO was officially launched in 2011; with a united mission to promote and expand the fashion industry in Rwanda, to raise awareness of the talents and gifts within Africa, particularly in Rwanda.
Ndutiye was recognised as the youngest designer at the first Rwanda Fashion Festival in 2009. The event was attended by fashion designers from different countries in Africa and Europe.
“I believe Africa has something unique to offer. We want to share what we have with the rest of the world,” she adds.
The 24-year-old uses unusual fabrics, texturing and detailing fusion of styles with beautiful embellishments in vibrant diverse colours to create a wondering design.
“Our mission and goal is to create jobs and opportunities for women, working with local cooperatives, hand craft makers… etc,” she adds.
INCO dressed Rwanda’s representative to the Miss University Africa Pageant, (MUA) 2012 in Niamey, Niger and the Miss Rwanda 2012 contestants.