The local fashion industry has made great strides towards getting onto the global map. Last weekend the Uganda International Fashion Week took place at the Kampala Serena Hotel. Under the theme, The Business Behind Fashion Gloria Haguma brings you the highlights. Established in 2003 by award winning Ugandan designer Santa Anzo, the fashion week franchise was one of the pioneer advocates for pushing and selling Ugandan fashion to the rest of the world. And after an 11-year break, its return was hugely welcomed and attended by major industry key players in Uganda.
This year’s edition featured a host of fashion designers from Uganda and South Africa, who had models down the runway in an array of pieces, many of which celebrated and paid homage to African fashion. Here is a breakdown of each showcase, as seen at the event.
Alvada Creations from South Africa
South African Fashion brand, Alvada creations, renown for specialising in authentic African clothing opened up the show with their African print detailed ready to wear pieces for both men and women. The majorly olive green and yellow collection featured clean cuts, and a lot of layering, with the yellow maxi dresses layered with red sheer fabric making for a great colour block element. Their take on the men’s tunic shirt worn over cropped printed pants is also a trend I would definitely love to see worn off the runway.
Fatuma Asha from Uganda
Known for her execution of glamour and elegance when it comes to women’s clothing, Fatuma Asha made sure to exude just that with her monotone collection at the showcase. The models, all clad in black floor length pieces strutted down the runway to the sounds of Elly Wamala’s Endogo. The pieces were meant to exhibit style drama, as the most over the top elements like bell sleeves, plunging cleavages, and puffy hems could be seen on the pieces. The closing gown, seen on model, Dorothy Chandia, featured a beautiful sequined top and feathered detailed sleeves, was a great way to close the largely muted collection.
Kaijuka Abbas from Uganda
The kikoyi is to Uganda what kente is to West Africa. And there would have been no better way to celebrate Ugandan fashion than with a kikoyi themed collection. And that’s what Abbas Kaijuka served with his showcase. With the backdrop of Rwandan drummers, Kaijuka’s showcase featured a largely kikoy-themed collection. His take on the modern gomesi was quite interesting as one of the models walked down the runway in a gomesi replica top, that was styled with puffy black skirt. My favourite piece was the broken busuuti, which was paired with pants instead on the bottom, complete with its own sash!
Judith Atelier from South Africa
Her fashion brand is known to create pieces that enhance femininity through special attention to detail and fabrics, and that was loudly spelt out in her maiden showcase at the Uganda International Fashion Week. The South African couturier gave us her own version of how to dress for summer, elegantly with her mostly two pieces collection that featured white garments, with a blue print on some of the pieces making for the perfect colour pop. The collection that consisted of dresses, cropped pants, culottes and belted waist lines put emphasis on the exaggerated sleeves trend, layering, and the very fashionable larger than life wide legged pants. My favourite was the all-white complete sheer jumpsuit, that was elegantly cinched in at the waist with a matching belt.
MMUSOMAXWELL from South Africa
The duo received Beyonce’s nod of approval when she wore one of their designs for her recent trip down to their native South Africa. So their showcase was definitely one to look forward to, and they didn’t disappoint. The women’s wear brand based in Johannesburg was founded in 2016 by Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane. Largely comprising bold shades like pink, lavender, blue and others, their collection represents what the modern and very style suave woman should be wearing. Its formal wear, elevated with fun silhouettes, prints, sheers fabrics and loads of colour. My personal favourite? Definitely has to be the blue power suit with the one sided sheer shoulder, completely with the lovely polka dots.
Santa Anzo from Uganda
When the models walking for Santa Anzo walked down the runway, the all black dress code for attendees finally came into play. Her all white collection created the perfect monochrome match against the all black on the guests seated alongside the runway. Known for her love of the African fabric, her all white collection was a great twist and a perfect way to celebrate the rebirth of the fashion week. Turbans, kaftans, and matching men’s tunic sets were some of the elements that reminded of us of the Arapapa African themed style that we have grown to love over the years. And she came out to take her bow, in a black shimmery kaftan, making for the perfect black and white theme, against the collection.