Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the fashion show of Rwanda Clothing. As usual, it was first at love sight with the collection designed by the talented Joselyne Umutoniwase . Bright colors, african fabrics, embroidery, beads, modern cuts, emphasize on details and feminity, I was totally amazed ! Models were all beautiful and coming in all the diversity of the feminity ! The show was fabulous as the brand is. If you don’t know yet Rwanda Clothing, let me introduce you to Joselyne, owner and founder of this Made in Rwanda brand.
Joselyne is 31, was born and raised in Kigali, mother of beautiful little girl of 3 years and married. She was working in the film industry during few years, as editor or director, she did several documentaries. Thanks to this, she discovered her interest for costumes, but nobody noticed really her passion for fashion, and were more interested by her talent as editor . She decided to continue to work on fashion but more as a hobby, spending all her week-end to look after fabrics, and doing sketches.
In 2010, after traveling in Germany and South Africa, Joselyne realized how big the fashion industry was. « What could I do in my country for this ? » asked her to herself. After alot of work and research, she came back in Rwanda, and opened Rwanda Clothing, it was in 2010. When I asked her about her inspirations, Joselyne answered me that « every collections comes unique in a specific time of my life. It depends on place I’ve visited or books I’ve read, it is about putting ideas together and creating something people will love cause I love it too ! », she also admit being influenced by African Culture in general.
The last collection was inspired by culture, the past culture, when beads and embroidery were used like a signature and embellishment, and this influence is twisted with modernity in using bright colors, something that Joselyne is doing for the first time. « I also use African fabrics with beads, to give a different look and makes the collection playful, very classy and elegant ! » and I can confirm that the last collection is really colorful and very elegant. I was impressed by the long gown with beads, the utilisation of lace fabric, the beautiful jewellery . Just amazing !
But Rwanda Clothing, since few years, it is also a very unique home decor shop ! « The home decor was always part of the plan, it is even in the business plan I made 7 years ago » said Joselyne. But it comes earlier because the customers were in demand. « They were always asking about what we have in the shop », tables, sofa, mirror, etc . Joselyne and her team started with accessories , pillow cases, table clothes, but people asked for more, so she did. You can now buy very unique furnitures from bed to patio furniture, lamps shades, mirror, tables, vases, baskets and chairs, but also beautiful handmade rugs. You can customize them if you want so, and it makes everything perfectly unique.
In those time, where we are all talking about slow fashion, about how improve our consumption and support the makers, Rwanda Clothing is definitely full of ethic. It is not just « prêt-à-porter » here but more a relationship between each customer and Rwanda Clothing. You will choose your fabrics, you will discuss the details, you can also meet the tailors who are working at the shop. You know exactly who is working for you and the process. Joselyne is doing as much as she can to make sure that the products they sell are making a change in how people purchase their garments. Prices are then a bit upper market, but to be myself a loyal customer to Rwanda Clothing since few years now, it worth every franc you will pay : you don’t simply buy yourself a dress, you offer to yourself a piece of the talent of Joselyne and her amazing team.