Across the world the pinnacle display of a country’s fashion is its annual “Fashion Week”. London, New York and Paris lead the way in this showcase of designers pushing the frontiers of design and style.

Until Gloria Wavamunno started it a couple of years there was no Fashion Week in Kampala, Uganda.

In this episode we discuss how and why she started the event, and cover a lot about the cultural and societal issues around fashion as well as giving an overview of the creative industries as a whole.

Kampala Fashion Week 2016 is 20th – 22nd October 2016

Here are some key quotes

“I’m a second generation tailor”

I have known for a long time that I wanted to set up Kampala Fashion Week (KFW). I’ve always enjoyed making garments, but have been fascinated in the production side of fashion

“I got experience at London Fashion Week”

Through my university work I ended up interning with the Head of Production of LFW for a few years.

“In Africa we didn’t have a platform for fashion like there was internationally”

There were opportunities to reach an audience in Uganda as well as promote the homegrown labels. It felt like the right time to set up Kampala Fashion Week.

“It’s important that I respect the creative aspect of designers”

In setting up KFW this was at the forefront of my thoughts, not simply just displaying their clothes.

“I want every detail to incorporate being African, being Ugandan”

We bring in music from local African music. Any chance to showcase local talent is an opportunity to create employment. It’s not just about the clothes.

“It’s a three day event”

We don’t have the budget for a whole seven days, but our sponsors have helped us grow from one day event in the last few years

“We have a lot of young creatives”

As a result of peace in the country, and economic growth, more young people have been able to engage in a creative career. We are trying to create a platform to show the youths what the level of quality needs to be.

“KFW is about quality”

You can’t cheat as an artist. If you put out substandard work, you’ll get found out. At KFW we ensure only the highest quality in everything we do.

“We hold educational seminars”

This is to engage the community in learning about more about the arts.

“We’ve adapted to being in Africa”

From starting with a 3 day event for “the week” to using local flowers on the catwalk, we’ve taken inspiration from others and made it our own.

“Our environment is for everyone”

You’re here to breath in an artistic moment. We make it attractive to people based on their job, age or tribe.

“It’s better for us to be an organisation”

Rather than a for-profit company. By not forcing ourselves to survive as a company we can focus more on our creativity.

“The US Embassay sponsor us to support the craft industry”

They saw the business benefit of the KFW and so joined as one of the main sponsors of the week. Local employment includes: set designers, creative directors and seamstresses

“Uganda doesn’t yet have ‘traditional dress'”

Even the busuti, often thought of as traditional dress, was designed by a colonial lady

“Tanzania are stopping second hand clothing”

The President has banned second hand clothes from entering the country and is looking to train a new generation in how to be tailors to promote homegrown industry. Uganda are considering the same.

“Clients find designers at KFW”

The designers showcasing have gone on to receive new clients from the exposure that has come from being on the catwalk.

“As an artist it we know how to make something out of nothing”

Collaboration between other artists is a way to find creative solutions to the issues that come with growing fashion brands.

“KFW is more than a place to see pretty clothes”

It’s a place to be inspired and to ask questions. Art depicts your society.


Links etc.

Raz Kuzoze – Head of the Seed Show
Catherine & Sons – Ugandan label
Bold Kampala – outlet

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Website: www.kampalafashionweek.com