In the last two years, the local fashion industry has grown by leaps and bounds. And the third edition of the annual Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show– (RCFS) held last Saturday at Hotel des Milles Collines, confirmed this trend.
The event provided a platform for talented local and guest fashion designers to showcase their work in a unique cultural setting which also embraces attributes of the modern world.
According to Colombe Ituze Ndutiye, “by showing the history of Rwandan fashion from the old times to the modern era, the youth can see, learn, and be inspired.”
Augustin Hakizimana from Uburanga Arts Studio and Agasozi Arts Centre is a contemporary artist, who believes that tradition has a role to play in today’s world by fusing art and fashion. He was behind the beautiful presentation of Rwanda culture styling at the show.
For his clothing collections, he uses materials that resemble the ones used back in the days, including bark cloth and animal print, among others.
The fashion show not only made the audience discover traditional music and clothing on a catwalk, it showed that more and more Rwandans are getting into fashion design and are making a living out of it. This alone stands out as proof that creativity is not just a hobby, creativity means business.
Having left for Ghana four years ago where the fashion scene was prospering and quality fabrics were available and affordable, Fathia Uwase from Uwase Fathia Design says she is surprised by the way Rwanda fashion scene is evolving.
“Before Rwandans were afraid to go into fashion, now everyone wants to create something. I am so happy and proud of my fellow Rwandan fashion designers,” she said.
The event was a great chance to get to know the up-coming and leading talents in the fashion industry, see and buy quality work, and also do some networking and have fun.
Some of the local brands which showcased this year included Moda Creational, Sano Design, Tanga Design and Modern tailoring and fashion design cooperative during the first round. In the second round it was Christine’s Creations and Rupari Design while Uzuri K&Y and INCO INCYUSA did the final round. Other brands included Anny Akingabiye from Burundi, Achera Design from Kenya, and Uwase Fathia Design from Ghana.
“The event was a great opportunity to show what we do, reach out to a wider market and do some brand networking while also listening to what people think of our collections,” revealed Colombe Ituze Ndutiye.
Anne Sophie Achera Misiani from Achera Designs, a Kenyan fashion brand, was equally happy to showcase in Kigali; a city she was discovering for the first time. “This is a great experience. I get to interact with fashion designers with a different cultural background, and learn a lot from it,” she revealed, “It is also a chance for me to increase sales, network and put my brand out there.”