Rwanda Clothing or rw&aclothing, will be celebrating five years in the fashion industry, a few weeks from now. Part of the celebration will involve a fashion show that will involve showcasing several designs from the designer but what is more exciting is that kids will be part of it.
The inspiration behind involving kids is a result of the experience Joselyn Umutoniwase, the founder of Rwanda Clothing, has had with her fashion house over the years.
“My customer base is growing and when I’m dressing them, I always feel like I need to dress the kids because women always want to dress their kids. As my brand is growing, I want to utilize the opportunity to grow the number of customers who buy from me, and why not kids as customers have, and make their mothers happy.”
“Also, there are not many brands for kids here because most of the people are producing for adults,” she says.
“At first I used to think that their (kids) clothes were complicated to make, being tiny little clothes but now I have a daughter I would love to dress without struggling.”
The private fashion show is also part of celebrating loyalty with her clients, who have stood with her for the last five years. The kids have been part of this loyalty who deserve to be celebrated as well.
“It’s been a very long way and a very interesting experience which I would like to share with my clients. I started with only 20 clients but now I’ve grown a big number of customers who have been loyal to my brands.”
“I thought it would be unfair if I did not involve the kids because they have been part of my clients even though they haven’t been many. My brand reflects family and we need to encourage and celebrate with my loyal family clients,” Umutoniwase says.
Even though Rwanda Clothing is known for its kitenge outfits, Umutoniwase wants to blend other materials to prove to people that children, just like adults, can wear anything, and still look fashionable. It will involve party and ceremonial clothing to fill the big gap between kids’ casual wear and party wear.
“Kids don’t have to wear pink or blue just because they are kids. Even dark colours like black can work for them. There are so many casual and kitenge outfit for kids in some shops but there are not enough formal clothes with a modern touch like jackets, or dresses.”
“I want to put their outfit in line to match the collection for the adults. The details will be the same as long as they match that of the kids. Some details like buttons or lace are sometimes ignored, yet kids can wear any kind of color when you pay attention to the details,” she says.
Kids model casting
Out of the 35 models for the fashion show, ten of them will be kids.
Umutoniwase invited kids and their parents for a two day kid’s model casting for kids ranging from four to ten years to give chance to kids whose dream is to be models.
“Some parents might wish for their kids to be part of the modeling but in most instances the kids may not be willing. When we do the casting, we then determine who have the passion for it and will therefore have models who will not cry or spoil the dress or refuse it at the last minute. We want kids who are confident and able to take pictures.”
Umutoniwase believes that this new drive will inspire other designers to start promoting the production of kid’s clothes as much as they do for adults