KIGALI – Rwanda enjoyed its share of fashion fare over the weekend at the seventh edition of Kigali Fashion Week. The finale was held last Saturday at Serena Hotel Kigali at an event attended by fashion lovers from within and outside the boundaries of the “land of a thousand hills” as Rwanda is fondly known. The organisers certainly went all out with this one, having 19 designers showcasing on one runway in a night. This was overindulgence either way you look at it but totally worth it. With the plan being to position Rwanda’s fashion designers for online markets according to Daniel Ndayishimiye one of the people behind the event, they must have decided the more the merrier.
This will be made possible by a partnership between KFW and Ronkos Rwanda , an online market place that brings together Rwanda’s fashion designers on one platform allowing the clients to discover, browse and buy ‘Made in Rwanda’ without having to leave their homes. The move is part of an ongoing campaign to get more people to buy and wear Made In Rwanda. Rwandans are definitely embracing the campaign and it was visible in the dress code of the attendees. Many ladies turned up in custom made outfits by home-based designers. Even the men were not left out. A couple had suits finished with African fabric lapels and/or ties. Also, more than half the showcasing designers came from Rwanda. Also representing on the runway was Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania plus UK, USA and Sweden. Show goers were treated to everything from one-piece collections by Tanga Designs to 20-piece extravaganzas by the likes of David Gulu (Congo). It was a fantastic night but a bit overwhelming for the fashion enthusiast in me. By the time the last model came down the runway towards midnight, it was hard to remember what I loved most about earlier showcases of the evening. But some stood out; the playful and colourful bomber jackets by Casandra (Jo Camana) especially the two-in-one pieces were to kill for. Fatia showcased why Ghana is the home of African fabric while Congo’s David Gulu was the night’s king of manipulation showing of his skill with surprising mix of various prints. For would-be buyers, a pop-up shop was set up the next day (Sunday) to browse through or buy pieces patrons liked on the runway. Now, that is creating an impact on the designers. For more photos click here