Rwanda’s fashion industry has been slowly but steadily growing over the last couple of years, with the government supporting the industry through the ‘Made in Rwanda’ campaign in a bid to spur creativity and growth.
Below we look at some of the fashion events that made headlines in 2016.
Kigali Fashion Week
Kigali Fashion Week Show was a long waited event held at Century Park Hotel in Kigali on June 24, 2016.
Organised by John Bunyeshuri, CEO, Kigali Fashion Week, the event was attended by fashion designers and models from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Japan, USA, Congo, Belgium and China, among other countries.
These included Kenyan designers Jamil Walji and Sheena Frida, Irene Busingye from Uganda, Winnie Godi from South Sudan, An Beurmans from Belgium, Cedric Mizero from Burundi, David Gulu from DR Congo, Malika from India, and Robina from United States.
Rwanda was represented by Moise Turahirwa, Delphine Uwamahoro and Asuma Wibabara. Kigali Fashion Week Show gave local designers the platform to showcase their latest collections.
1,000 Hills Fashion Show
On July 14, 2016, 1,000 Hills Fashion Show took centre stage, as fashion lovers turned up for the show at Umubano hotel, located in Kigali.
The runway show featured the latest designs by local fashion houses like Uzuri K&Y, Rupari designs, Moshions, Inkanda house, Dokmai Rwanda, Glo collections, Kolbe and Rwanda Clothing, among others. Over 30 models took to the runway to showcase fabulous designs at the event organised by the Private Sector Federation (PSF).
The corporate fashion show, which was held at Umubano Hotel in Kacyiru, also demonstrated to the guests attending the African Union summit that was taking place in Rwanda at the time what Rwanda has to offer to the continent and the world in terms of fashion.
The event showcased immense talent, with local designers displaying fashion items made from local fabrics and textile. It also demonstrated to the guests attending the AU summit what Rwanda has to offer to the continent and the world in terms of fashion. Performances from Hope Irakoze and jazz band Neptunez spiced up the event.
Week of Fashion
Last year, on October 14, Week of Fashion showcased the very best in design and design inspiration at Kigali Serena Hotel, as local designers upped the tempo for ‘Made in Rwanda’ through their collections.
Organised by Collective R.W, a company that was founded by local designers; Sonia Mugabo, Teta Isibo, Mathew Rugamba, Linda Mukangoga and Candy Basomingera, the show was attended by the First Lady Jeannette Kagame and First Daughter Ange Kagame.
Designers and fashion houses including Amizero, Inco Icyusa, Uzi collections, Naked Ape, House of Tayo, Inzuki designs, Haute Baso and Sonia Mugabo showcased their latest collection of designs.
At the event, several designs that included shirts, trousers, dresses, skirts and tops were showcased. Accessories like bags, earrings, necklaces, bangles and danglers were also featured.
A range of fabrics from African print, military print, chiffon, cotton, denim, linen, polyester and batik fabrics were used by designers to bring out each individual designer’s unique taste and style.
The show was graced by government officials including Francois Kanimba, the Minister of Trade Industry and EAC Affairs, as well as celebrities and other fashion designers from the region and beyond.
Rwanda Modesty Fashion Show
Organised by Berwa Platinum House, the Rwanda Modesty Fashion Show, which took place at Petit Stade, in Remera saw designers showcase both men’s and women’s wear in a show that was largely attended by young people.
Dubbed “The Beauty of Decency”, the event aimed at addressing the misconception by young people, that being stylish is dressing in skimpy attires.
It saw eight local designers showcase their creations including Delphine Fashion House, Berwa House of Fashion, Valence Ruzindaza’s Kaliza Fashion House, designer Gloria Umutesi, Akaliza Fashion House, Queen Fashions, Hakim Designs and Jamra Designs. They showcased creative male and female wear that emphasized decency.
Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show
The Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show that took place twice this year saw local fashion designers showcase a variety of unique designs at the glamorous fashion shows.
Traditional Rwandan tools like hoes, spears, baskets-Uduseke, and pots were displayed by the models as they showed how each of these were used in homes during the ancient times and how chores and responsibilities were shared in homes.
Local designers, who took part, include Nadege Umutoni, an upcoming designer from N&S creations and whose designs were inspired by the 1989 Nyiginya dynasty in Botswana, Jossette Umurerwa, who specializes in women’s wear with a modern touch from her “Salt” collection, and Nancy Zeller from USA, who brought her epoch-defining collections from her “Umva” collection.
Founded in 2012 by Celestin Ntawirema, CEO and Managing director of IRIS PRO-FILMS, RCFS aims at promoting fashion designers, and creating public awareness of the talent and quality designs in the region and Africa.
RCFS also partners with young artists in entrepreneurship to promote arts and creativity, including designing clothes as well as partnering with local modelling agencies to cast the models for the show.
Fashion Night Out
The Fashion Night Out was a special part of the recently concluded ‘Made in Rwanda Expo 2016’ at the Private Sector Federation (PSF) Expo Grounds in Gikondo.
Organized by PSF, the aim of the event was to promote ‘Made in Rwanda’ products, especially focusing on fashion industry.
The event saw ten fashion designers display their best collections with a big turn up marking an amazing night for Rwanda’s finest fashion designers who got a golden opportunity to showcase their talents.
Designers who participated in the show included Sonia Mugabo, House of Tayo, Uzi Collection, Haute Baso, Inzuki Designs, Inkanda Designs, Rupari Designs, Made in Kigali, Moshions and Rwanda Clothing.
The exhibition served as a crucial platform to expand their sales as members of the public who turned up picked interest in their work.