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Rwanda’s fashion Industry comes of age

Fashion is more lucrative than ever in Rwanda in all fronts, models jetting with creativity than ever before as only that some-one has not to do it without targeting fame but to make it as a career.

This was observed during the Made –in-Rwanda first edition fashion awards that took place in Kigali last week.

According to Franco Kabano, the President of the Rwanda Models Union, believes, that Fashion is not just for an entertainment but a necessity demanded on the daily basis, hence, making models earning a lot of money once persisting to the test of time.

Kabano says, Fashion is not a western thing as many thought but a job that can be done by Rwandans too. “Thus, so far mindset on the fashion has improved as 1200 professional models are active in the fashion,” he says.

Thanks, to the government to offer a helping hand to the fashion to see that fashionistas are participating in the economic development and growth.

“The government is pushing us through trainings and capacity building through RDB so that creative industry is exploited,” he says.

“Many exbhitions are being exonerated by the Government where we don’t pay a coin therefore providing us a helping hand to us to market our products. The Government has also given us free stands at Kigali cultural village for long without payments,” he adds.

Emmanuel Mugisha, the organizer, Made-in-Rwanda awards, Secretary General East African Youth Development Agency, a non-governmental organization that empowers youth in the region, says, fashion awards were aimed to encourage young fashionistas to join Fashion industry and raise public awareness on it.

“Like other businesses which bring taxes and employment fashion can make it too,” he adds.

Eric Sekamana, a Male model and stylist in Rwanda, believes that fashion industry is growing speedily.

“Previously, models were no more as Rwandans were blank about the fashion. But now the move is visible in diverse ways. “Fashion awards are being organized as well as exbhitions a sign that the once a dormant business is now becoming active,” he adds.

Kabano, says, fashion is a profitable business. “I myself I don’t do anything but I earn 1 million a month from modelling businesses. Fashion week’s provide with us more jobs of modelling but also in usual days when there are no exbhitions. We do VIP protocols, advertise on screens which make us gain more money,” he says.

Aime Francois Ndayishimye, Deputy CEO, Moshions fashion house, says, the Governments plans to reduce tax on the local made clothes is an inspiration to the designers. “Though it’s not yet implemented but it’s encouraging to stay in the field,” he says.

Joselyn Umutoni-wase, CEO, Rwanda clothing collections, says, products in Rwanda are good quality only that the mindset becomes low when it comes to the local buyers.

Patrick Kamali, a Hair stylist, Mirror Saloon, says, not all people get the white collar jobs “Our staffs cannot go below 600,000 Rwf as a salary a sign that fashion is coming of age,” he says.

However, says, Rwanda still far compared to other countries in as far as organizing events.

“It would be more booming in case Stylist awards are organized regularly instead of being seasonal as it is,” he adds.

Jacky Mukabalisa, a retail seller, based in Kigali, says, that the local clothes and jewelries are of good quality only that they are expensive due that raw materials are imported from abroad.

“However, that if they can manage to make their own materials it could be cheaper and affordable,” he adds.

Challenges

Safi Madiba, is a local celebrity, and the owner of the Madiba Collections, says, there are no consistent fashionista’s only the casual laborers.

He adds, unique styles are no more especially the designers have nothing- like- creating unique innovations. For instance, when you look at the traditional attires in wedding parties in other countries it is entirely traditional outfit. He says.

Safi, noted that traditional attires market the country and attract tourists yet Imishanana are only won during the wedding parties. “They need to be worn everywhere. This is a problem that we don’t like our products from fashion, music, consumption yet Made in Rwanda is there but fashionista’s are lagging to grasp the move,” he says.

“In other countries fashion galas are on the menu every weekend. For us its after 3 months or a year. We have also few fashion houses in Rwanda which cripple’s competition at the end of the day,” he adds.

He says products come from China, Dubai and USA majorly fabrics which are taxed highly on the way. “By reaching here they are too expensive,” he says.

The Express News

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