Monday 24th of June 2024

Nairobi, Kenya

Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show and Africa Fashion Stakeholders to discuss future of fashion industry in Africa

Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show (RCFS) will on December 18, hold a virtual conference during which players in the fashion industry will discuss the current state of the African fashion industry.

Dubbed “The Future of Fashion Industry in Africa”, the webinar will bring together different stakeholders of the fashion industry to share experiences and discuss how private and public institutions can support Africa’s growing fashion industry.

The webinar will include discussions which will be in the form of a series of a thought-provoking panel. Key speakers of the event will include renowned fashion designers, fashion promoters, experts in textiles and fabric dyeing, fashion school teachers and some government representatives.

Celestin Ntawirema, the brains behind RCFS and organiser of the webinar told The New Times that participants in this webinar will share experiences on how to establish a successful fashion concept business, discuss challenges facing the industry and propose some solutions.

Mr Celestin Ntawirema & Miss Rwanda 2020 Umutesi  Denise

“Though Covid-19 halted most activities in the industry, we thought of creating a platform that will bring players in the fashion industry to share experiences and best practices so we can learn from each other how best we can push our fashion industry to another level. We also want to see how designers can go global through African networks,” Ntawirema said.

The African fashion sector is already impressing in the global market, something that industry players hail as a motivation despite the challenges they have faced in the journey.

Ntawirema, who has been promoting fashion for over the past eight years said that, from his experience,  many brands from all over the continent had established themselves among the best globally and are now selling big on the international fashion markets compared to Western fashion despite having few fashion schools that can drive the industry to greater heights.


He, however, lamented that investors are still reluctant to put their money in fashion-related projects because protection of fashion copyrights and fashion innovations is still low due to the gap in fashion literacy.

The webinar, he said, will be an opportunity for fashion players to show both the public and private sectors the potential that fashion has at its disposal so as to attract their investment and, on the other hand, call for support from the governments to create a conducive environment for fashion to flourish and become a sector which can contribute to the national economic development.

Some of the speakers expected for the webinar include Ruth Jackob, senior lecturer in fashion marketing Eastern London, Karen Uwera, the President of Rwanda Designers Association, John Bunyeshuri, the CEO and Founder of Kigali Fashion Week and Kenyan fashion guru Vinn Clizz, the Managing Director of Vinn Clizz among others.


Mrs Karen Uwera


Mr John Bunyeshuri


Mr Vinn Clizz


Though Rwanda’s fashion industry is being contextualized with the ‘Made in Rwanda’ policy but Ntawirema said that it’s a shame that One of the biggest challenges we have is that we have no fashion school that can prepare and raise future designers, models, or fashion promoters by profession.

“This is all down to the fact that Rwanda has no forum bringing together designers, models, promoters and other stakeholders to discuss to the future of this industry. We also need an umbrella or a fashion watchdog for all players in the fashion industry to ensure that the protection of our works is guaranteed,”

Rwanda may have local designers who are becoming successful but under hard conditions which the webinar is also looking forward to tackling.

The webinar outcomes are expected to respond to questions raised around African fashion industry from “who can design?”, “who can sell locally-made clothes”, and “who promotes fashion?” or even “who can basically support fashion sector?”

“We hope the webinar will find share responses to these questions together with the speakers. We also value new ideas from the public from which the future styling and fashion business in Africa can rely on,” he added.

Content courtesy  of The New Times Rwanda & Nairobi fashion hub 

The changing face of Ugandan fashion Industry 

Ugandan top fashion designer Gloria Wavamunno is calling on her colleagues to tailor their businesses according to the local market.

Uganda’s fashion industry is characterised by struggling ventures, semi-professional small-scale production, and lack of infrastructure, institutions and government support.

And now the challenges have been exacerbated by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Wavamunno, who is the CEO and founder of Kampala Fashion Week, also suggests recycling second-hand clothes and collaboration among the stakeholders in order to survive in the current health crisis.

“It is time for designers to think locally, and that their businesses do not have to be the same as international business models. In our creative industry, you have to see the clients because we are still more into tailoring than mass producing for shops,” the 35-year-old fashionista says.

“So how do you keep yourself and your customer safe? How do you reduce your production costs? I know people look at second-hand clothes negatively, but they can be a boundless source of materials if you look at it in a different way. It can be where you find your zippers, buttons or re-purpose clothing and fabrics.”

People want to be cost-efficient but the Covid-19 pandemic issues may push up costs,” she said. “When everything opens up people are going to double charge because they want to make their money back.

“Creatives also need to put their minds together. I am a founding board member of the Fashion Council Uganda and we are trying to connect designers together. Through the Kampala Fashion Week, I have reached out to many designers. Now it is about bringing designers together and helping each other.”

Wavamunno advises her counterparts to concentrate on the African market.

“I believe in the business module of functioning locally to expand globally. Expanding globally does not necessarily mean that you have to travel to Western countries. Globally is just as well the African continent. You can source your things to Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa or Congo, among others.”

Early influences

Born in England and raised alternately between London and Kampala, Wavamunno studied at the Kampala International School in Uganda.

Wavamunno says she was influenced into a life revolving around art by her mother, aunties and art teacher.

“My character when I was younger was more introverted, a bit of a loner. I was drawn to art through artistic expression, whether dance, painting, singing or things instrumental like playing piano. These are things that caught my attention.”

“And my mother was into tailoring with her sisters, which they still are, and now more into design. So, I learnt to tailor my own pieces. I was cutting, stitching here and pinning there. I was expressing art in so many forms,” she adds.


“My art teacher in boarding school, Mr Smalley, saw me sketching. My form of sketching was still life. I loved to do portraits, body forms that evolved into outfits.

Smalley noticed that I liked sketching a lot of clothes. And art to me was an expression of how you dressed. Being shy, I found my best way of self-expression through how I dressed.

“It was after my teacher pushed me that my eyes were opened to the world of fashion. In Uganda, the tailoring industry existed in the past and not really the fashion industry in a global setting. But today we have many fashion designers,” Wavamunno told The EastAfrican.

She holds a fashion, design and marketing degree from the American Intercontinental University in London, UK.

Wavamunno interned at Ghanaian British men’s designer Oswald Boateng. She has worked for various retail stores and magazines such as Flare, New African Women and Arise.

Growing brand

After studying and working in the UK, Wavamunno returned to Uganda in 2009 and launched her ready-to-wear brand GloRia WavaMunno.

Her brand draws inspiration from her Ugandan culture and heritage, experiences and environment.


“I have showcased in Rwanda, Bujumbura in Burundi, Nairobi in Kenya, Lagos in Nigeria, Johannesburg in South Africa, and the UK. Each country has such a different structure, audience and energy. So, they were all amazing experiences because they further educated and inspired me to find my voice and direction,” Wavamunno says.

Her clothes are sold in the US, Kenya and Uganda. “At the beginning of my career, it was more of the global audience that was purchasing my pieces. Now I have more African clients, from ready-to-wear as well as tailoring.

“I am trying to create art pieces that mean something and have sentimental depth narratives that are long lasting, reusable, versatile in their usage, changeable and bold. I make people feel the best they can feel,” she adds.

She has designed for Nokia Face of Africa and her works have been collected by museums in America and Europe.

“I have also had my pieces in museums. I did a barkcloth jacket years ago for a museum in Texas, US. I am interested in the importance of barkcloth and how we can utilise it in clothing here in Uganda. I also have pieces showcasing in museums in Switzerland and Germany,” Wavamunno said.

“I find museums as places that let you to express to a western audience that is sometimes very naive or ignorant about African culture. They [in the West] only have their own version that they receive and display. It is good as an African being able to educate them in their own spaces. Sometimes they will educate themselves, but if you are there you have to say this is my fact, this is my truth, and this is my experience being of this background.”

When asked what inspires her fashion designs, Wavamunno said: “I am not really into the one-off pieces that you can wear multiple times. I like clothes that you can live in.

“I also got deeper into understanding my heritage, ancestors and background. I wanted to incorporate my culture as an African, as a Ugandan, and as a multi-tribal individual.


My dad is a product of two tribes and my mum is of mixed-race heritage. I give the wearer their own identity, and they turn my pieces into their own story.”

Content courtesy of The East African & Nairobi fashion hub

Elijah Mcquinn The boldest fashion brand in Uganda

Hello I am Harriet and I will be your personal designer today. I love to help you to design and buy African print clothing that perfectly suits your personality and style.

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.

Online sales are done at www.elijah-mcquinn.com
More designs are available on our Instagram page @elijahmcquinn


Content courtesy of Elijah Mcquinn & Nairobi fashion hub

Africa’s Biggest Red-carpet Event, The Abryanz Style And Fashion Awards(Asfas) Return To Kampala Uganda For The 7th Edition

The awards show celebrates and acknowledges African fashion industry stakeholders including fashion designers, models, icons, media influencers amongst others.

On the 13th of December 2019, at the Kampala Serena hotel, the Asfas once again will be broadcast live on Uganda’s leading broadcaster NTV Uganda, DSTV channel 190, spice tv will shine a spotlight on African fashion on the 7th edition of the ASFAS.
The annual celebration of African fashion creatives, the ASFAS are back under the theme ‘the starz’ set to be the biggest edition yet with a mission to shine a global spotlight on the African fashion industry while highlighting creativity, achievement and excellence.

The awards seek to highlight the tradition of selflessness of the African nation to uplift one another through advancements of adoption, and the modern generation that tirelessly challenges the socio-political global status quo.
With compelling ideas between self-identity and recognition of ownership, this theme seeks to emphasize that this new outlook of the future African generation is for “us by us” hence it’s name the starz.

ASFA 2019 will celebrate African creatives across 14 categories. In line with the
ASFA2019 THEME, this year’s show will also feature special HONORARY
AWARDS i.e. Icon Award, Positive Change And Special
Recognition Award For Innovation.
The nominations start on 20th September 2019 and end on 8th October 2019.

Another new development this year will see the ASFAs partnering with Talent Africa, Uganda’s leading events and entertainment company who will work together with the ASFAs to bring a new level of professionalism in event and business management. The ultimate goal of the new partnership is to make the ASFAs the biggest fashion event in Africa.

Talent Africa CEO Aly Allibhai states “Talent Africa is really excited to partner with the Abryanz Style and Fashion on this venture as a business partner and events management company. The ASFAs are already on amazing event and Talent Africa is dedicated to doing what we can do to make it even better and growing ASFA to another level. Look out for some new and exciting changes to this year’s edition”

The ASFAs 2019 come with excitement of Partners, sponsors, fashion personalities, production and major stakeholders expressing their enthusiasm and eagerness. “The ASFAs have been an iconic instrumental change to the Business of Fashion and modelling not only in Uganda but Africa at large.
The Awards are more than tribalizers to pushing the boundaries of African Fashion boarders and celebrating the narrative of futuristic African Fashion.” Says Joram Muzira Job, Production manager, Fashion Show.

Veronic Rubanga From Fenon said “We are always very excited to be part of the biggest Fashion Awarding event for the 7th year running, as we have been a part of this journey from the very start.
Fenon is known for the innovation and executing high end and classy events and the attendees should expect a bigger and better production at the event this year. We always aim to push the limits and deliver a new, never seen before experience.

We have many surprises in store and can’t wait to unveil them.” While Angie Kemi-Omeke CEO Pink Coconut is also overwhelmed at the announcement of the return of the ASFAs this year.

“If you have been following the ASFAs, you will realize they are a celebration of fashion and style.
They are also a representation of Ugandan and international culture, pomp and pizzazz.

As Pink Coconut Decor, we strive to be part of anything that gives people a chance to comment with their true self while showcasing talent, hence once again this year we are pleased to be working with ASFA as the official decor partner.” she added.
Celebrating the Asfa2019 starz, the awards will encompass three events featuring star designers, stylists artistes, emerging fashionistas etc. including a nominees party, fashionpreneur summit / workshop for aspiring designers and fashion entrepreneurs, a model master class, where they will display their works of art, network and work together First staged in 2013, the Abryanz Style And Fashion Awards have recognised the talent of designers, achievers and personalities across the continent, rewarding icons and game changers such as David Tlale, Mafikizolo, Mai Atafo, Her Royal Highness The Princess Of Tooro Elizabeth Bagaya, Super Model Aamito Stacy Lagum, Santa Anzo Amongst Others.

In line with the Asfa 2019 theme the Starz, this year’s show will be a STAR packed edition with STAR performances, STAR designer showcases, STAR models, STAR hosts, STAR appearances on the red-carpet and main stage.

Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards will continue it’s blooming relationship with last year’s main sponsor Ciroc Ultra-Premium Vodka, Isuzu and media partners NTV Uganda and Capital FM for this year’s edition.

Other sponsors and Partners include; Serena Hotel Kampala, South African Airways, Schweppes, pink coconut, Fenon, Big Eye Uganda, MAC, and Imagine design and build.

Content courtesy of Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards & Nairobi fashion hub