Styling Rwanda’s traditional attire to fit the modern man

Patrick Muhire is a designer at Inkanda House and a dealer in outfits for ceremonies such as Beauty contests, as well as ‘Introduction’ and wedding ceremonies.

Patrick Muhire is a designer at Inkanda House and a dealer in outfits for ceremonies such as Beauty contests, as well as ‘Introduction’ and wedding ceremonies.

According to Muhire, in 2008 when his sister was about to get married in the traditional Rwandan ceremony known as Gusaba, his family was so concerned about making their daughter look different on that special day.

“It was an unfortunate search for me because after going all around town to look for some unique attire that would make my sister look different from others, I couldn’t find one  single unique mushanana (traditional Rwandan attire),”  Muhire narrates.

Luckily Muhire had a few samples of clothing material that he used to create something special for his sister.

“She looked more Rwandan than any other woman I had seen before,” he said.

That was the beginning of his journey into Rwanda fashion. People started contacting him for special designs for weddings and since then he has never looked back.

“People started changing their mindsets about combining modern with traditional fashion,” he said.

Many designers started being creative by combining different local textiles to make beautiful traditional dresses.
“As fashions keep on changing, so does the inspiration of designers keep changing because they want to make their esteemed customers look ‘unbeatable’,” Muhira said.

Ismah Mugisha is one soon-to-be married customer who was found selecting some of the fashionable textiles that Muhire sells. He will use them next month during his Gusaba.

“There are a variety of clothes that come with a variety of matching accessories. They are all at different prices and this provides something for every customer depending on how deep their pockets are,” Mugisha said.

For men, the lowest price is Rwf5,000 and gets higher depending on the textile type and style as well as the kind of matching accessories. Accessories include pearl necklaces, leather sandals, beaded or wooden walking sticks, bracelets among others.

Muhire continues to explain that, as a pioneer who has designed the traditional he is aiming at promoting the Rwandan attire worldwide.

“This is for the sake of spreading the Rwandan culture so that it is practiced by many people including those who are not Rwandan,” Muhire said.

Mbbz_pelagie@yahoo.com

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