By Elias Hakizimana.
Local dress makers said they will benefit from Igitenge or Kitenge fashion House competition that gathered them together with clients through a modeling competition.
Ella Schimene Ingabire, Rwandan female who is currently a dress maker in Igitenge Fashion house in Kimironko Sector, Gasabo district said the initiative helped many dress makers since it equipped them with practical experience.
The first ever Kitenge dressing competition dubbed “Kigali Fashion Design Challenge 2018” that took place in Kigali at Question Coffee yesterday on May 12, 2018 became a solution from which many Kitenge dress makers will benefit as they meet clients’ desire on the field.
Hawa Niyonkuru, a local Kitenge dress maker from Nyarugenge District said was motivated by the competition as she went out with an award.
She won Rwf 100,000 award yesterday and said she could not believe she can perform better among other dress makers in made in Rwanda dressing industry.
She said one challenge is that locals do not value such dressing, citing that only foreigners like Kitenge clothes.
Hawah Niyonkuru with her Rwf 100,000 prize
She added that one of the reasons is that Rwandans like imported clothes, and she hopes changes will be made in coming days.
“Rwandans also like Kitenge clothes but they cannot afford to buy them, because they were used to buying second hand at lower price and now fear to buy the Rwf 20,000 Kitenge cloth, they rather prefer to buy imported First hand clothes at Rwf 5000 or Rwf 7,000,” said Niyonkuru.
Despite Rwandans’ fear to buy such made in Rwanda clothes, Niyonkuru as an expert in making such dresses said the prices will remain higher as the raw materials are still imported at higher prices.
“We are still, importing all the raw materials, so, when a client requests for a discount, we, as dress makers find it impossible to make it as the raw materials and transportation costed us much,” said Niyonkuru.
The first Kitenge product of Niyonkuru costs Rwf 60,000 and others vary from Rwf 40,000 to Rwf20,000. She said clients comes slowly but she hopes they will increase gradually.
Justin Sunday, chairperson of Igitenge Fashion House who organizes the competition told the media that they want to link Rwandans dress makers with clients including foreigners from America, Pakistan, India, Asia, Africa and Japan.Justin Sunday.
“We want that they meet local dress makers, we want to train and link local dress makers with the markets,” said Sunday.
He said the initiative aims at promoting made in Rwanda and give a clear image of its originality.
Around 40 dress makers and 70 models attended the competitions.
“This initiative will change mindset of Rwandans on made in Rwanda and will create professional dress makers,” said Sunday.
The competition criteria that were in place required dress makers to make a complete dress for a model without having his/her body sizes within 24 hours.
80 percent of models who participated in showcasing the Kitenge were Americans. To mark winners, several criteria were used, including the look with 50 marks, touching or finishing with 25marks, and fitting with 25marks.
Judges includes Ange Subirou Tambineza, a Rwandan fashionist, Unis, young 15-year-old Rwandan lady in primary school level with made in Rwanda promotion dreams, Isha from Cashmir in Pakistan, Liam from America.
Elias Hakizimana @theinspirerpubl