Top 10 Fashion Designers from Uganda
Kampala Fashion Week Uganda’s most influential fashion platform, (KFW) promotes Ugandan designers and Fashion designers African continent to a large global market. The organization was created to support and strengthen the design industry in Uganda as well as enhancing the cultural and creative talent that our country and continent has to offer. KFW is powered by the Ugandan Fashion Council (UFC).
Fashion in Uganda is flourishing, if the work we’ve seen this year is anything to go by. Design labels are turning into highly respectable brands, attracting attention from all over the world. This is thanks to platforms such as Kampala Fashion Week which foster talent and creation of high-quality garments.
1. Anita Beryl
Anita Beryl born 11 January 1986 is a Ugandan Fashion Designer, Couturier and Entrepreneur. She is the creative director of Beryl Qouture, a Ugandan fashion house. The Ugandan magazine, Satisfashion Uganda, named Beryl one of “The 40 Movers and Shakers of 2016”, in December 2016.
Anita Beryl of Beryl Qouture has positioned herself as the go-to dressmaker for exquisite red carpet looks. Her label which started as a bridal house has dressed some of the best-dressed women this year, attracting massive PR in the process.
She has also featured at a slew of fashion weeks the previous years , Accra Fashion Week and Swahili Fashion Week being some of them. We look forward to the surprises she has under her sleeve in 2018
2. Sylvia Owori
She was born 1976 is a Ugandan fashion designer, businesswoman political lobbyist and entrepreneur. She is the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Zipa Modeling Agency, a company that she founded and owns. She is reported to be one of the wealthiest individuals in Uganda, the third-largest economy in the East African Community.
Sylvia Owori is one of today’s leading figures in East Africa’s Fashion, media, and modeling industries, famous for both her entrepreneurial skills as well as for her creative talent.
Her break into fashion happened when she took on the challenge of revitalizing the ‘Miss Uganda Beauty Pageant’, (2001-2004) which following her input became one of the most significant events on the Ugandan social calendar. She also revealed her innovative talent by designing outfits for the contestants of the M-Net Face of Africa in Dar es Salaam (2000) and Cape Town, which resulted in immense acclaim from the public as well as from fashion critics. Following this positive feedback, Sylvia was appointed to design the Nokia Face of Africa’s Ugandan finalist’s outfit in 2001.
Sylvia Owori, the brand, launched in 2004 and provides a range of prêt-a-porter exclusively on sale in the flagship store in Kampala and in an outlet in Nairobi. Described as a balanced mix between smart and elegant outfits for work and trendy casual wear for leisure, her label is all designed with sophisticated and modern working women in mind.
3. Philip Buyi
Philip Buyi is an actor, founder and creator of the Kkoolo fashion brand. Kkoolo means “crow” in Buyi’s native language, Gisu. The brand specializes in designing and manufacturing customized street, haute and ready-to-wear apparel for both men and women. Buyi’s goal for Kkoolo is to return, rediscover, and redefine African culture today. “Fashion is an image and character we portray.”
Kkoolo is afro urban wear trend with beauty to colour your world, K koolo reproduces african fabrics and recycled materials ,customized products such as caps , jackets ,vests , pants for both men women, Kkoolo, an afro-urban label made its KFW debut with a collection filled with Samurai inspired outfits, long coats and jumpsuits with dandelions, and lots of leather. We can’t wait to see what the youthful brand has up their sleeves for 2018.
Kkoolo operates at the intersection of the art projects and economic development. Kkoolo is dedicated to the development of the local job market and youth empowerment through skill development, employment opportunities to the youth using fashion, design and craft.
With her activities, Kkoolo addresses issues in regards to innovation, creativity and inclusiveness. Kkoolo Organizers believe that with Art and unemployment can be addressed through gender, innovation and creativity
4. Santa Anzo
Anzo is a Ugandan model, fashionista, fashion designer and businesswoman, who is the founder, chief fashion designer and managing director of Arapapa Fashion House, based in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. She is also the founder and President of Uganda International Fashion Week, an annual fashion exhibition.
Santa Anzo is another pioneer of Uganda’s fashion industry. Anzo is the Chief Fashion Designer and Managing Director of Arapapa Fashion. Anzo says that fashion is not just about glamorous models and glitzy catwalks, it is also a multi-million dollar industry that creates millions of jobs just like any other business. “The fashion industry includes many sub-industries, it has an amazing value chain.”
5. Charles Kasozi
Charles Kasozi, aka Ras Kasozi, is founder and creative director of Kas Wear. It was his lack of financial capital that motivated him to explore new and unusual avenues through recycling to create unique designs. Kasozi began experimenting with different textiles and materials to create one-of-a-kind looks which he is now famous for.
6. Raphael Allan Kasule
Raphael Kasule is the owner of K-Rafael Couture fashion brand. Kasule began his fashion journey at the age of 13, when he started tinkering with his mother’s sewing machine. His fashion brand is famed for its unconventional concepts and approach to style. Rafael’s highlight was when he designed the official national ceremonial wear for Uganda’s Olympic team, which was quite well received at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“Fashion means so many things; a way of life, culture, an art, source of income. But in general I take it as a platform to express fantasies, thoughts, emotions, among other things. As for the K-Rafael brand, the vision is to make it to the top African designers, to spread outlets and a wide employment and training scheme around Uganda, equipping the less privileged. I would also like to get into the global film costume industry, mainly with adventure, sci-fi, and video production.”
7. Brenda Maraka
Brenda Niwagaba Maraka, who is undoubtedly among Uganda’s top fashion designers, describes herself as “just a simple person who loves work and fashion”. She is also quick to recognise people who have inspired her, including renowned fashion designer and artist Stella Atal and Xenson Samson Ssenkaaba
In January 2007, Maraka officially launched ‘Brendamaraka’ as a fashion label, Brenda Maraka is a textiles designer with a passion for promoting Uganda’s art, culture and traditions through fashion.
For Maraka, fashion is a channel of expression, not just for herself but also for her clients. “It’s been my livelihood and has propelled me to where I am today. Fashion has opened up doors for me, to meet people I never imagined I would meet, to make friendships and visit several countries.”
8. Shiela Lukwanzi
Shiela Lukwanzi is a Ugandan fashion designer who has worked before as a studio assistant for Emanuel Ungaro in Paris and Gloria Wavamunno in Kampala where she assisted in the preparations for the first ever Kampala Fashion Week in 2014. she discovered her signature style while at the university and continue to portray her attention to asymmetric cuts in the collections.
Sheila Lukwanzi is the force behind the formidable Lukwanzi fashion label. Lukwanzi aims to remain enthralling and show a degree of inventiveness through its signature style. It is a unisex brand, currently producing one collection a year. “Fashion to me is freedom, the freedom to change and break barriers. It’s an art and therefore a means of deep communication. Fashion is courage, it’s bold and beautiful.”
Lukwanzi is currently contributing to the fast growing fashion industry in Africa as the creative director for LUKWANZI, a local fashion brand, and also the head designer for Haute Uganda Limited, manufacturers of industrial garments, and corporate and school uniforms.
9. Stella Atal
Stella Atal was born in the Northern Region of Uganda, along the northern shores of Lake Kyoga. Stella started her schooling in Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. She relocated to Kenya and continued her education there. Later, she completed her education in the United Kingdom. She has a bachelors and a master’s degree in Fine Art.
Stella Atal is based in Paris, France. Atal, a professional painter, describes her fashion as wearable art. Having grown up in an artistic family, it was only natural to take on fashion. Atal uses the opportunity of living in the fashion capital to elevate Uganda’s fashion industry to an international level by connecting upcoming fashion designers to international fashion communities.
In 2007, she started her own label, Atal Stella. There she focuses on using what is locally available, including eco-friendly, natural and re-cycled material. Her designs have showcased at the Africa Fashion Week New York, in 2010 and at the Green Fashion Switzerland, in 2011. Stella’s work has been featured in two issues of the prestigious Italian Vogue magazine.
In 2016, she relocated from Kampala, Uganda to Paris, France. The following year, she received a license that allows manufacturing and selling of her branded clothes and copyrighted art pieces in France and the rest of the European Union. She tours internationally in Continental Europe, United Kingdom and the United States.
Xenson know as Samson Ssenkaaba is a multimedia artist and the brilliant brain behind the Xenson fashion brand. Xenson is famed for its creativity greatly influenced by the grandeur of African arts, culture, the vitality of African dance and hip-hop as a free, expressive art form.
“For me, every creation is a narrative of a complex historical idiom correlated with a poetic contemporary occurrence. The process is very organic and embodies modern African ingenuity and ancient craftsmanship. Materiality involves recycling consumerist by-products, interplayed with organic or natural materials.”
Content courtesy Nairobi fashion hub