It only took a phone call from a friend, for Elodie Fromenteau to realize what her true calling would be. Elodie Monique Vestine Fromenteau, the founder of IZUBAA, has always been interested in fashion and has worked as a freelance fashion stylist at various points in her life. A fashion designer, on the other hand, seemed too big of a name for her to consider. Until 2021, when a friend approached her about designing a clothing collection and presenting it at the then-upcoming Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Rwanda. Despite quickly dismissing the idea as a crazy comment from a supportive friend, it lingered with her, haunting her for most of the days that followed. One day, while alone and indoors, Fromenteau surprised herself by drawing various designs. “The concept was both terrifying and exciting. I worked on and drew different designs for weeks without leaving my room,” she described. When the much-anticipated Fashion Show was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, Fromenteau saw it as an opportunity to refine her ideas. “I only chose four designs to present at the fashion show from what I had originally planned to present,” she explained. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week finally took place in Accra, Ghana, in December 2021, much to her delight., she claims, changed her perspective on fashion design. “As a beginner, presenting my first-ever collection at such a big fashion show was incredible to me,” she said, adding, “I met diverse influential people in the sector, including amazing designers and models who had been in the area for a while.” She reasoned that in order to establish a unique brand, she would need to tell a unique story through her creation. She named, what would be, IZUBAA’s first collection, ‘Journey to Africa.’ Being a cross-cultural person proved to be particularly valuable in her storytelling journey. Fromenteau is biracial, having been born in Cameroon to a Rwandan mother and a French father. She was raised in France and later moved to London, United Kingdom, before, as of current, settling in Rwanda. “I fell in love with Rwanda the moment I set foot on its soil. I had only come for vacation, but it felt more like home than anywhere else I had been. So I ended up moving here for good,” she said. “My first collection, Journey to Africa, is a fusion of my French and African roots. I wanted to combine the two sides to tell my own story,” she explained. IZUBAA’s clothes are made of French fabric together with African prints. They’re mostly oversized and gender-neutral. Among other things, IZUBAA opened Kigali Fashion Week during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2022). At the YouthConnekt Summit 2022, performers from Mashirika, a renowned performing Arts and Media company, were also dressed in IZUBAA. Fromenteau, famed Malaika Uwamahoro’s personal stylist, also styles singers and models for music videos. The 35-year-old has now released her new collection, dubbed ‘Sunday Best.’ “I wanted to make clothes that people could comfortably wear to church and still look chic,” she said. The collection consists primarily of oversized suits that follow the same principle of France’s classic and colourful African print patterns. “Once you believe in yourself, the rest of the world will follow,” Fromenteau advised aspiring creatives. There are many challenges, the majority of which are getting people to be familiar with your products and getting enough investment at times, but not limiting yourself is the foundation to success, she added.