As I strolled in Lungujja, a Kampala suburb on a sunny Monday, I chanced upon some beautiful African pieces on display. Forget your uptown fashion houses with labels, this was a workshop but their work looked extraordinary.
It is here that I met two fashionprenuers who are on a journey to make a footprint in the fashion industry. Each one of them was busy on a sewing machine working on their clients’ orders.
Toepista Nakavuma and Kevin Nakato are determined to make women embrace African print with a glamourous touch.
“There are a thousand unique ways to add a touch of class to your kitenge. Every day is an opportunity for us to come up with new designs,” says Nakavuma.
Kitenge is versatile and can worn to any occasion, with just some changes in your accessories depending on the type of occasion and how comfortable you feel.
Nakavuma says African clothing is unique in style, because it represents a rich history. “African clothing comes in various colours, design, materials and styles. Which can be used at various functions and occasions or even just for every day wear,” she explains.
In their collection, I saw a pair of Ankara shorts and a blazer, which they say can be casual yet glamorous. “A matching Ankara blazer with heels will give you an elegant effect. You can style it with a pair of sneakers too,” says Nakavuma.
An off shoulder Ankara jumpsuit can be a mainstay in your weekday wardrobe. An eye-catching pattern is sure to stand out from the crowd. The kikoy is a striped, multi-coloured piece, usually woven of the brightest colour combinations with red as its most prominent colour. It is made of cotton and the patterns are woven rather than dyed into the fabric. It is a fabric that can be worn to express one’s individual style.
“As an African wear Kikoy can always be your next choice of wear if you want to go for something glamorous as a changing traditional wear at an introduction ceremony, wedding reception or party,” explains Nakato.