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How to be …Designer Sylvia Owori


Been there done that: She is a pioneer of the fashion industry in Uganda and the godmother of socialites. Ian Ford Nkera guides you on how to be Sylvia Owori.
Do you guys remember a time when the Miss Uganda event was primarily about beauty and not an agriculture promoting scheme? Mbu simanya use your beauty to promote fertilisers. Honestly what is that about? These days they say that it’s all about beauty with a purpose but in the past it was beauty as a purpose. If you were not stunning, the Miss Uganda pageant was simply not for you. During that time, you wondered how the likes of Salmah Nassanga didn’t become Miss World. Those days when former Miss Uganda Victoria Nabunya smiled, you would immediately go into dreamland but when Phiona Bizzu smiles, people call for an ambulance. Sylvia Owori made that difference ladies and gentlemen. She easily made the Miss Uganda event the most anticipated on the social calendar. She is also a fully-fledged businesswoman who is behind the famed Sylvie’s Boutique now named after herself, Zipper Models Agency and the defunct African Woman magazine that recently resurrected as an online blog. She has had her fair share of scandal, but if you find her quite inspirational, there is your guide.

Sylvia the hard worker
You can fault Sylvia Owori for anything but certainly not her work ethic. This lady surely works her socks off. She has surely been one of the most inspirational women in the past decade because of her exploits in the fashion world. The moment you mentioned a cloth was got from her fashion store, an instant value was attached. She also had the best print for a fashion magazine in the popular African Woman, which goes to mention her attention to detail. If you spend your days smoking shisha, this might be the time to change strategy. Go hard on work. Just as simple as that.
Bambi this lady is a trendsetter. When Ugandans were almost turning to polythene for clothing, this lady saved the day with unique fashion designs that hit the Kampala streets with the ground running. While people thought that the dress was the most creative thing ever made, model Eva Mbabazi walked out in a fish-net. Sheer Sylvia Owori genius right there. Who ever imagined for a day that a fish-net would replace a dress? If you are going to be anything like Sylvia Owori, make bold statements. Show up at a wedding in All Stars. I mean you can show up in denim jeans and sneakers as a groom at a kwanjula and no questions will be asked.

Be short-term
To be anything like Sylvia Owori, all your businesses should have an expiry date. Who needs an empire that can run for decades when you can close shop and start a new one? Be the person that starts a business then have it grow to unimaginable heights before seeing it collapse to extinction. That’s kind of her trademark as nothing of hers seems to last from her business interests to her relationships. If your chicken business is starting to reap profitably, why not close shop and start rearing ducks? That’s Sylvia Owori’s logic so take heed.

The Socialite Godmother
Forget Judith Heard and other pretenders. Sylvia Owori is the godmother of all socialites who simply just passed on the mantle to the rest. She was the one running the show at early events like the first Goat Races. She was smoking cigars with the likes of Sudhir Rupaerelia while the likes of Zari were busy memorising the alphabet in some rural school in Jinja. Sylvia Owori was partying those days when UTL was still called Mango so you can imagine. To be like Sylvia Owori, be the heartbeat of the party. Be the person who parties so hard that you have breakfast at the club. Party hard that waiters feel they have a personal relationship with you. When waiters start asking you how your family is fairing, you are getting there.

Forever Engaged
Forget the fiery character she tries to sell to the public but one place you are not taking Sylvia Owori is that place called marriage.Owori has probably had the longest engagements in history after being engaged to her muzungu man for close to a decade and never tying the knot in the process. Apparently her muzungu man financed all her businesses, so she felt compelled to get married but in actual sense got engaged “just for just”. Be the kind of girl to walk in and out of engagements. Like Sylvia Owori, be mobile enough to move on from a muzungu to a struggling kickboxer and then to a former mayor and then back to the muzungu.

Be resourceful
You remember the infamous Ziper Models? You might remember the modelling agency that catapulted the likes of the Priscilla Ray and Judith Heard into the limelight. Sylvia Owori was the mastermind as it saw many models get to survive ‘in many ways they could’. So what happened when Mr wealthy white man was looking for entertainment? Mbu they would dial a number at the Ziper Models headquarters. Naye people can talk. To be like Sylvia Owori, be resourceful. Use what you have to get more.
There you have it. Go ahead be like the fashion guru herself Ms Sylvia Owori.
This is a humour column and the views expressed henceforth may not neccesarily be an objective assessment of the individual.

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