Since he ventured into fashion four years ago now, Fred ‘Lyon’ Ndicunguye has gained trust and admiration from a big number of celebrities and other fashion enthusiasts, thanks to the unique creativity he shows in the fashion and style at his shop.
He is now regarded as one of the most celebrated and creative stylists in town because he dresses several local celebrities, mainly musicians, DJs, producers, sports stars and socialites who always seek him out for trending fashion accessories whenever they are preparing for stage performances, video shoots or just looking good.
Seeing celebrities going to his store looking for unique styles made by established fashion brands like Adidas, Nike, H&M, Wrangler, Gucci or Louis Vuitton among others, inspired Ndicunguye to create his own brand dubbed ‘Lyon’ which he hopes will become a popular brand.
He spoke to The New Times on the idea to create his own brand and the future of the fashion industry in Rwanda.
What inspired you to develop your own fashion brand?
Having my own brand has always been my dream since I joined the fashion industry as a stylist. Though I bring styles made by world’s established brands and sell them to my customers, I knew that I would one day end up bringing my own brand on the market.
It is not an easy thing to introduce your own brand on the market and succeed immediately because it takes time to build it little by little and I am happy that it is taking shape now.
Why ‘Lyon’ as your brand name?
Lyon is my name in the fashion business. It is also the name my fashion shop ‘Lyon Store’ goes by. I chose it so that it becomes easy and quick for people to recognise.
Given how my people were excited by my brand, there is no surprise that people could one day see all my fashion store’s shelves packed with Lyon-branded clothes.
Do you have any Lyon-branded clothes on the market already?
Yes, I started with jeans so far because I realized that they are the most wanted apparels on the market but I am planning to extend my brand to other clothes, especially T-shirts and more.
I started this brand to see how people would welcome a brand designed by a Rwandan, but I was overwhelmed with the way people liked it. The jeans are now available at my shop both in details and wholesales.
What’s the demand like on the market so far?
When I brought samples of Lyon-branded jeans in January, they didn’t last long in the store because my customers liked them.
I have since produced as many as possible and I am really excited by the demand so far. Many celebrities and other customers have shown interest the jeans named after my brand Lyon Jeans.
It’s really a big boost for my brand because they are so far in-demand compared to the jeans of other brands because of the material and the finesse they are tailored with. It is already marketable because I already know the taste of my customers.
What makes Lyon’ jeans different?
The difference is the stretching material and finesse. Those are two important things I care about when making these jeans because I know my customers’ taste.
What does the future hold for your brand?
I want to see my brand recognised as an original Rwandan brand. Today, I am working with Chinese designers but my wish is to them produced locally by our very own designers.
I am looking forward to working with Rwandan designers who can produce well-designed and finished clothes that can compete in the world of fashion.
I also want to extend the brand to shirts, T-shirts and jackets to ensure diversity of my products since I want to see it going international.
I have a dream to build a textile factory in Rwanda with standard machines that can manufacture Lyon-branded clothes. It’s a project that could take time, but I am looking forward to achieving that dream.
Individuals, including singer Bruce Melodie showcase some of the Lyon’s brand. Courtesy photo.