Fashion is a very diverse industry. The world of fashion is quite a big one that teems with hordes of players involved. From fashion-savvy folks who follow fashion like a sniffer dog, to fashion designers who breathe life into fashion.
Also, there are fashion entrepreneurs; the kind of people who inject cash into fashion and turn its wheels. These people make things happen in the industry. But while at it, there has been a misconception between two kinds of people: fashion collectors and fashion designers. There has always been a standing debate between the two groups. Who are fashion collectors? What do fashion designers do? Mostly, in Uganda, with such a small market, a fashion collector shamelessly labels himself/herself as a fashion designer. It’s absurd. That’s a huge misconception, a plague that is eating up the industry. This, in turn, produces lackluster people in the industry because people don’t know what they are doing.
Fashion collectors border on fashion entrepreneurs; they were literally cut from the same fashion cloth. These are the folks with money and a love for fashion as well. What do they do? They globetrot, collecting the best designs. They traverse and comb the world and different fashion houses to buy stuff for their business. They are businesspeople with a nose for fashion. We have quite a number of them in Uganda like Kim Swagga and Brian Ahumuza although the latter has a fashion line coming out soon. Some of these people, unbeknownst to them, label themselves as fashion designers, which shouldn’t be the case, if you ask them; they are nothing but fashion entrepreneurs. They are not fashion designers, no; they are simply fashion collectors who help fashion designers earn a wage. But they play a big role in the industry, because they sell merchandise to the masses that cannot access the fashion designers.
On the other hand, fashion designers are artistic, creative souls who play God and create things. They are creative nerds. They walk around with a pencil resting on their ears, or shoved deep into their hair with a sketchbook in hand and these grand ideas looming over them (a bit of exaggeration there but you get the idea). They can transform a zigzag sketch into a beautiful piece of cloth that will rock the red-carpet.
These are the people that sit down and sketch a piece of cloth in their mind and go ahead to put the idea on paper which later transforms into a piece of clothing. They do not necessarily work the sewing machine. They are the reason why the fashion industry is alive. In Uganda, we have quite a number of fashion designers like Santa Anzo, Sylvia Awori, Brenda Maraka among others. But having said that, they largely differ from fashion collectors or fashion entrepreneurs. Yes, they can sell off their own merchandize, but that’s not their role. Their role is to sit and create something that will shake the earth on its roots. Fashion designers, for lack of a better word, are fashion gods.