Connect
To Top

#GOALS: A designer for gods and goddesses

Fashion: Whitney Grace Najjuko tried her hands at an ordinary office job but it just was not cutting it for her, so she let go and did something that was fulfilling. A self-taught fashion designer, Najjuko creates pieces for daring and expressive people.

Whitney Grace Najjuko is known for a number of things in different Ugandan communities. To some, she is a former Miss Uganda contestant, one of the actors that made a cameo in Nana Kagga’s drama Beneath The Lies, to others, a stylist that has worked with different personalities on both looks and makeup and to many, a fashion designer whose work they cannot wear.

Yet Najjuko refers to herself as a creative that cannot help it: “I find myself creating even when I am supposed to be concentrating on something else,” she says.

The fashion designer says as a norm for all educated people, she once tried getting office jobs but was bored most of the time.

“I spent a lot of time on the job sketching new designs and one day I realised that was not making me happy.”

She is the founder of GNAJ fashion label, which at the founding in 2012 paid more attention to having haute couture and avanta garde approach to African fabric. Haute couture is entirely hand made while avanta garde is usually experimental, radical and an unorthodox approach to art.

“I have done many things as far as design is concerned but none of them is one of my good works,” she says, adding that much of those works were gowns which looked like all the things people have been taught to love.

A self taught designer, Najjuko says while in school, she could barely attend all the school’s programmes since she was asthmatic. This meant that she had to sit out of early morning classes.

“I would use that time to read different books, and by the time I was a teenager I had read a lot on things such as capitalism, identity and much of this knowledge informs my experiments with works,” she says, adding that over time she has questioned formal designs.

But even when she has always loved sewing things, Najjuko has not always known how to, and of course before she could even call herself a fashion designer, she at least needed to learn from a professional.

“There was this guy who was really good at sewing and cutting and truth is that I could not afford a lesson with him,” she says, “though I asked him to teach me and in return, I would handle his customers.”

During the day, she would learn from him as well as doing other things in his workshop, after everyone had left, Najjuko would sit on the sewing machine to perfect what she had learnt earlier on.

Today, Najjuko has showcased at Bayimba International Festival, Royal Essense Magazine Showcase, Kenya Fashion Week and the Abraynz Style and Fashion Awards where she was also a nominee in 2014, among others.

Perspectives
A graduate of International Business, the designer says she chose the programme from Makerere University Business School because she wanted to question things around international relations.

“I wanted to understand things from a global perspective and international business opens you up to the deal behind the deal.”

Now Najjuko is focused on turning GNAJ into a global brand that people will know mostly for its work. Her brand name, she notes, is inspired by the story behind her indigenous name Najjuko: “Najjuko is a bold princess, the brand is a representative of my clients,” she says.

“I design for people that are expressive, daring and bold that is why I refer to them as gods and goddesses.”

Leave a comment

More in Features

  • KFM will always be part of me- Malaika Nnyanzi

    New start: Last Friday, Malaika Nnyanzi ended her two-year journey with KFM where her radio career started. Despite making the decision...

    Isaac SsejjombweApril 19, 2019
  • Meet Busia’s Simple Suspect

    Samia’s finest: His name may raise a bit of eyebrow but this is where Simple Suspect draws inspiration for his craft....

    Job BwireApril 19, 2019
  • Thou shall know them by their schools

    Nurture: Two things will define someone’s character; nature and nurture. Many of us are reflected by the schools we attended. For...

    sqoopadminApril 19, 2019
  • Game of Thrones fans fired up for final season

      Three hundred die-hard Game of Thrones fans laughed, howled and moaned their way through the premiere of the hugely popular...

    Job BwireApril 15, 2019
  • Women fear me because I am an actor- Musinguzi

    He is popular at National Theatre. He is the face of the most famous film organization, Uganda Cinema Night. He is...

    Job BwireApril 14, 2019
  • A broken heart should not mean suicide

    NURSING HEARTBREAKS: There have been stories on different social media platforms of youth crying about their broken relationships. Sadly, some of...

    sqoopadminApril 12, 2019
  • Food that evokes craftsmanship

      Good food, ambience and customer service are three major aspects that draw customers to place. Dancing Cup also lets you...

    Edgar BatteApril 12, 2019
  • Emceeing was a calling

      10 YEARS OF ESCO: We have seen musicians celebrate 10 years in the business but next Thursday, Esco, real name...

    Isaac SsejjombweApril 12, 2019
  • Uber needs to come clean….

      I am never the kind to bash brands for the sake of it. You err and we check you. It...

    IAN FORD NKERAApril 12, 2019