Saturday night was an evening of fashion and glamour at the Belgian Ambassador's Residence in Kiyovu, which hosted a gala fashion show to officially launch the Rwanda Fashion Designer’s Council (RFDC).
The event was organised in partnership with Private Sector Federation (PSF) and the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ), under the auspices of the Nucleus initiative, which aims at connecting entrepreneurs working in the same domain in order to help them address common challenges.
The initiative also seeks to help fashion entrepreneurs benefit from the same opportunities and learn from each other.
Saturday’s event was also an iopportnuity for the designers to network with potential clients and sponsors.
Created to regulate Rwanda’s fashion industry according to international standards, the RFDC aims to realise its goals by bringing a variety of Rwandan fashion designers together to share experiences.
At the moment, the RFDC boasts seven local fashion brands and talented designers behind several brands including, Patrick Muhire of Inkanda Fashion House, Joselyne Umutoniwase of Rwanda Clothing, and Gloria Kamanzi Uwizera of Glo Creations.
Others include Colombe Ituze Ndutiye of INCO fashion, Kevine Kagirimpundu and Ysolde Shimwe of Uzuri K&Y, Alida Baranyikuze of Dali Fashion Agency and Cynthia Rupari of Rupari Designs.
What these designers share in common, besides talent and creativity, is a set of challenges and the belief that, together, they can find solutions to better address them.
Some of the shared challenges as indicated at the event include a lack of access to a wider international market, lack of skilled workforce and lack of local textile industries and clothing factories.
But, with a positive outlook on the local fashion scene’s future, the creative entrepreneurs are seeking to turn these obstacles into opportunities.
“I believe that the RFDC is a great initiative that is going to shape the future of the fashion industry in Rwanda,” said a confident Colombe Ndutiye.
At the fashion show, five local designers were able to showcase their impressive collections to the delight of everyone present.
The event is thought to have contributed toward raising awareness about existing local fashion brands, established and emerging talents, and current trends and the beauty of the products which are on offer.
Speaking on behalf of RFDC, Joselyn Umutoniwase, the founder of Rwanda Clothing, said the council will go a long way in empowering the local fashion industry
“I have seen such kind of events happening elsewhere in the world and they are helping designers to improve and make money and this is exactly what we need,” she said.
“We realised that if we do not put our efforts together it’s not going to work. We plan to organise such events more regulalry, whereby people can sit and talk and know more about local designers and brands as well as the challenges we face,” she added.