Fred ‘Lyon’ Ndicunguye decided that he would pursue a career in fashion during his final year as an International Business undergraduate at Guangzhou University in China.
Fashion is a big part of celebrities’ lifestyle but many local celebrities have confessed to struggling to get clothes that they wanted until Ndicunguye opened a fashion shop at CHIC building in downtown-Kigali in 2017.
To date, Ndicunguye styles several local celebrities who include singers, DJs, producers and socialites who always seek him out for trending fashion styles whenever they are preparing for stage performances, video shoots or just unique styles to suit their tastes and preferences.
When you enter his shop, you find jeans, shoes, rings, sunglasses, belts, T-shirts, caps, jackets, jeans, shirts, jumpers among many other items, laid on shelves and coat hangers.
“I never planned to become a stylist. I love to look good and get well-dressed and that’s why, probably, I found myself in this business,” he says.
The Mane Music Label CEO Bad Rama (C) and artiste Queen Cha (R) are regular clients of Lyon’s boutique. / Courtesy
The 24-year-old has always been a big fan of fashion and likes to try out the latest fashion trends. He spent his free time as a University student in China visiting Chinese fashion markets looking for the latest fashion trends to wear.
“I would go to school every Monday dressed in new shoes, jacket or shirts because I am a big fan of fashion and I really like to dress well. Because my friends liked my outfits, I would bring a few clothes to sell to them and in the process make small profits”.
The majority of Lyon’s clients are celebrities and include singers like Bruce Intore, Arnaud Mugisha Gatera professionally known as Dj Marnaud, Yvonne Mugemana aka Queen Cha, socialite Shadia Mbabazi, popularly known as Shaddy boo among others.
Many celebrities first got to know of Ndicunguye while he was still a student in China through social media platforms like Instragram where he posted photos of the latest fashion trends.
Producer Pastor P often visits Lyon’s boutique. / Courtesy
He would take orders from some of them and send them clothes through business people who frequented China.
He worked with them online until he finished his studies in 2016 but because the online demand was already growing, his clients requested him to open a fashion shop in Kigali.
“Many celebrities encouraged me to venture into this business and promised to become my regular customers and I really thank them that they did not disappoint me,” he says.
He started the business by focusing on celebrities who were his main customers, although the shop is open to everyone.
“I thought of bringing something special and unique for my customers in Rwanda after I realized that many fashion boutiques were selling casual fashion items,” he narrates.
So far, the demand has gone up that Lyon travels out of the country twice every month while, in the beginning, he would go there once in three months.
China is no longer Ndicunguye’s lone business destination for his customers. He now flies to Dubai, UAE to look for shoes and Turkey, which has one of the clothes for women.
His regular customers include long-term client Bruce Melodie, DJ Marnaud, all artistes signed to The Mane Music Label and their Manager Bad Rama, Pastor P, Made Beats, DJ Pius, Christopher and Gabiro among others.
Socialite Shaddy Boo is one of Fred Lyon’s regular clients. / Courtesy
Bruce Melodie is known to order for shoes that sometimes go for Rwf150,000 to Rwf200,000. However, Ndicunguye says items in his shop are sold at affordable prices like those from other shops although there is a public perception that a shop that attracts celebrities sells at expensive prices.
“Only those specific and unique items which are ordered by particular clients are the ones that are priced more than the rest.”
He further adds that working with celebrities has helped market his boutique and in turn plans to open two new boutiques for females and young children.
The one for females will be called Lyon Queen and will be dominated by Turkish-made fashion brands. It will open next month while the one for young children will be opened next year.
I have known Fred Lyon from a young age and he was always the kind of boy who wanted to dress in the latest trending clothes because he likes to look good. So, I had to be his customer not only to support him as a friend but because he knows what I like.
Other boutique owners may have very nice clothes but what makes Lyon different from them is that he brings unique clothes that are not common in town. That is why a lot of celebrities are always interested in visiting his shop to look for new arrivals.
He’s a stylist who understands fashion and that makes celebrities trust him to the extent where they let him chose which clothes look best for them.
Pastor P, producer
Lyon’s clothes caught my eye the day I found them on his Instagram because he likes to post his new arrivals on his account. Since then, I became a regular customer.
I often go there to buy sneakers, clothes, and sunglasses.
Many celebrities often visit his fashion shop because he has clothes of good quality and that can rarely be seen anywhere else moreover at fair prices.
Queen Cha, singer
Lyon is not only my go-to stylist but a friend of mine too. However, I don’t go to his shop just because we’re friends but because he has clothes that match my fashion taste.
I like to buy shoes and jeans from his store, which are of good quality and his prices are fair for everyone who knows the meaning of fashion.