Rwandans are slowly getting accustomed to the word “Tanga” mostly because it makes up Tanga design, one of the fashion houses that has claimed their spot on Rwanda’s fashion industry.
This year, Tanga design went big by sponsoring Miss Rwanda beauty pageant.
That event’s collection was dubbed, “Ikamba collection” comprised of haute couture dresses stitched by a talented fashion designer and stylist Olivier Niyitanga, aka Gucci Tanga.
At the first glance of Tanga design shop, it’s almost impossible to grasp the idea that such a limited space can produce such tremendous and numerous pieces of art.
The inception of Ikamba collection
“Ikamba” is a Kinyarwanda word that translates to mean the crown. Donning a white du-rag at the time of the interview, Tanga told The New Times that he drew the idea from the previous collection, which reflected Rwandan culture.
“The idea came from this collection which had “ibyanganga” a traditional headpiece worn by ladies of the court in Rwanda during royal occasions, also inspired by umushanana, the wedding attire in Rwanda,” he recounted.
The collection, Tanga added, received a massive buzz from people on our social media which led to Ikamba collection idea which we wanted to have a Rwandan culture touch.
According to the agreements of the sponsorship, Tanga design only had to dress the top 10 finalists.
It was not an easy task
Dressing the beauty pageants wasn’t like falling off a log according to the talented designer.
Miss Rwanda 2020 winner Naomie Nishimwe was dressed up by Tanga design.
“It wasn’t that easy to prepare dresses for ten different girls you don’t know because the dresses had to be ready before the grand finale where they voted the 10 finalists and the winner in the end,” the 23-year-old said.
However, he added, with experience, I managed to get them ready before the deadline.
That was an experience which involved “a lot of sleepless nights” according to the designer.
Tanga design’s journey
Besides this year’s milestone, the 23-year-old designer has showcased his collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, which was held in South Africa and Ghana as well as Kigali Fashion Week.
“This journey began back in 2014 when I finished high-school and it wasn’t easy because I began solo with no other help and carrying out all duties in a company such as being a creative director, CEO to name a few,” said he said.
Currently, Tanga Design makes clothes for the wedding ceremony whose cost depends on the material used.
Tanga shared a piece of advice to young people: “Pursue the thing that will earn you a dime.”
Sherrie Silver donning Tanga design at Miss Rwanda.