Elijah Mcquinn The boldest fashion brand in Uganda
International clothing brands are hard to get by in in the Ugandan capital of Uganda. That does not mean that the urban hipsters are left behind. A surge of young ground breaking designers has taken over the market of Ugandan fashion landscape and now determines what is trendy.
We talk to Harriet Alur who is the creative director of Elijah Mcquinn, a sustainable fashion brand located in Kisementi, next to Brood.
Harriet, Where does the name and brand Elijah Mcquinn originate from?
Elijah Mcquinn is my son`s name. His coming to the world inspired me to start a clothing line that would support both of us.
Since those difficult early days as a single mom I am now proud to announce the opening of our first shop in Kisementi. It offers both posh dresses, skirts & tops with kitenge features as well as cool streetwear & shorts with an African touch for men.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Our inspiration comes from frequent visits to the country`s largest market `Owino` (meaning born with a cord around the neck). While getting lost in the chaos and commotion of the people both buying and selling used clothing and cooling down later in the day in the most fancy upmarket boutiques we are able to obtain unique insights which allow us to redesign in all creativity.
Your brand Elijah Mcquinn claims to be sustainable. Can you explain?
Every day tons of second hand clothing are dumped onto the African continent. For every piece of item dumped, a local tailor has one day less income. As Elijah Mcquinn we decided to make a statement against this unsustainable practice by recycling the attributes of this original western clothing.
How would you describe your style?
We want our clients to feel in a fairytale destination where the sun always shines. We mix, blend and merge styles from across the 4 wind directions and regions in Uganda . This allows us to impress both upmarket Ugandan clients as well as foreign visitors.
Our jumpsuits draw all attention to you during that fancy cocktail party in Kololo. Our chiffon maxi dresses will convert an early spring day into a full summer in Paris. Our silk kimonos will reveal an oriental touch in . Our bomber jackets make your street style pop in the streets of New York
Recently you added a travel bag line.
Our clients requested us to reflect on their regular travel needs as they indicated the absence of fashionable bags to carry. Therefore we developed crafted work of the best leather available in combination with animal skins. Our safari travel bags make you stand out in even the most upmarket hotel lobby.
Would you say that beauty can be purchased or it is intrinsic to a person?
We believe that every lady has what it takes to be beautiful. It is all about developing your own style and highlighting your strongest features. We are glad to explore with our clients how our designs an attributes can do that perfectly. To help ladies show their beauty even further we recently offer organic shea butter directly from Northern Uganda to revitalize and smoothen our delicate skins.
What message do you have to share with the audience?
Be proud of your Ugandans origins without being feeling shy to recombining your style with other foreign themes. In Uganda people tend to think that foreign products are automatically of superior quality.
Unfortunately that is how we have taken advantage of and mediocre imports enter the country under the flag of international quality. With my brand I want to prove that `Made in Uganda` can reach international standards and has what it takes to make us all proud.
We select buttons, laces, linings and cutouts which are still in perfect condition and we reuse them into newly designed items. This reduces local clothing market distortion and reduces the environmental impact by unnecessary production. We try to send these up-cycled articles back to Europe for retail to the same people who threw them. I wish they knew.
Where can we find you?
We are located on plot 4 sturrock road, Kisementi, Kampala. Right next to Cutting Station Kampala. S
Since last summer we also occasionally during popups in Antwerp in Belgium.
Content courtesy of Elijah Mcquinn & Nairobi fashion hub