He might not be all over your faces but Martin Larry is undoubtedly one of Uganda’s biggest fashion designers at the moment. His contribution to fashion is overwhelming. Isaac Ssejjombwe catches up with him.
Briefly describe Martin Larry?
I’m a God-fearing person, self-made and a young entrepreneur from a strong religious background.
Where did you learn fashion from?
I have always loved fashion from childhood. I remember visiting local tailors back home to have my clothes altered to what I wanted them to look like. From time to time I would collect off cuts from my grandmother’s sawing machine to make little dresses for my sister’s dolls. When I joined university, I got a job with a design house (Zirian Missfixit) the official designers for the Miss Uganda beauty pageant then.
Who is behind your inspiration?
My late father is my inspiration. His sense of style was to die for. He was a less is more type of a guy but paid attention to details and he loved blue.
How long have you been in the fashion business?
I have been in the fashion business for close to 10 years.
Are you a fashion designer or just a collector?
I am a fashion creator but I also double as a stylist for projects in need of ready to wear outfits.
Since you are a creator, how long does it take to come up with a design?
It all starts from inspiration and what the client wants to achieve. In a few minutes of discussion I can understand and design something for them.
How much do you charge to create a design for someone?
It depends on the design, fabric all I can say fashion is supposed to be affordable.
Besides Andrew Kyamagero who endorses your fashion on different platforms. Which other celebrities do you design for?
The list is endless. I have designed for artistes such as Rema Namakula, Mariam Ndagire, Sheeba Karungi, Andrew kyamagero, Patrick Salvador, John Ssegawa, Maureen Nantume, Mesach Ssemakula, Jackie Chandiru, G – Snake, Diana Nalubega and Ronald Mayinja.
Do you charge these celebrities the way you charge ordinary people or they are given a discount?
Every customer is as important and equal. Some celebrities make bigger demands which calls for more attention thus increasing the cost of production. So they actually pay more.
What is the most expensive design you have come up with?
The wardrobe we did for East Africa Got Talent production It was more work, more money. However, the most expensive item was Gaetano’s suit.
How much was the suit?
It was shs1.5million.
And the cheapest?
I can’t really tell but all I can say is we always offer a free ring bearer (page boy) suit to every wedding entourage.
What challenges have you been facing in this industry?
Lack of enough quality fabric on the market and then copycats.
What does the future hold for Martin Larry?
I would like to become a mass producer and also showcase at international platforms like New York, Milan, Paris and Cape Town just like Joram Muzira says.