When the term “high fashion” is mentioned, people tend to think of Milan, Paris, and New York City. Rarely does the worldwide audience associate Rwanda with fashion. In the past, Rwanda has struggled internally, specifically in the mid 1990’s, when there was a massive genocide of mostly Tutsi children, women, and men.
Now, a handful of new designers have emerged within the country with hopes that they can turn Rwanda into a culturally stylish place with a bright future. The government of Rwanda is helping these designers out by the creation of the project called, “Made in Rwanda”. With this initiative, the designers are supported by the limitation of global imports and the increased production and availability of local goods.
Other initiatives and organizations have also developed in efforts to help the cause, including Fashion Hub Kigali, established buy Daniel Ndayishimiye in 2016. Fashion Hub Kigali offers over 100 Rwandan designers training and access to necessary tools such as sewing machines.
Fashion Hub Kigali is not only helping designers create clothing for adults, but a children’s fashion market has been emerging as well. Another benefit that these organizations, such as Fashion Hub Kigali offers is employment for those affected by the genocide. Ndayishimiye was affected himself, having lost his brother and his father to the brutal event.
Although it’s not yet Paris, Milan, or New York City, it is safe to say that Rwandan fashion is on the rise, producing beautiful designs and trends with the support of the government and a variety of other wonderful organizations such as Fashion Hub Kigali.