Africa is the hub for a lot of things from technology to business and education and of late it seems to be the fashion hub as well. The AFW team does
its best to showcase hidden talent from all over the continent and today we take a look at the big design names down in East Africa.
1. Margherita Marvasi of MAGO East Africa (Zanzibar): Mago was created in 2006. A perfect collection of skirts, shirts, dresses and accessories that plays around with fun prints and exquisite African fabrics. All her pieces are handmade and carefully tailored to fit the female body. Margherita is a native Italian and brings in her diverse upbringing in her collection. She debuted her first collection in Italy 2008 and now has various stores carrying her line in Brazil, Sweden and in her hometown of Stone town, Zanzibar.
2. Matthew Rugamba of House of Tayo (Rwanda): Bow-ties and snoods are all the rage now and are a perfect addition to any formal and casual look. Now Matthew added a little twist to it by making the same bow-ties and snoods but using African wax fabrics which make the accessories pop against any plain colored outfit. House of Tayo was born when Matthew, having just completed his sophomore year in college at the time, realized he can use this fashion line to capture, interpret, and purvey the bright colors, rich fabrics, intricate textiles, poise and elegance of African fashion. Matthew’s line has already had its share of the spotlight having participated in the London African Fashion Week and appeared in various magazines as well. House of Tayo is on a league of its own and looks like it’s here to stay.
3. Christine Mhando for Chichia (Tanzania): Does this ring a bell for anyone? Chichia? Beyonce? Yes people, Beyonce is just one of the famous people to have rocked the London based Tanzanian line and the line was featured in every single African fashion platform since. Christine Mhando, founder and creator of the eclectic fashion line got her start in 2007 after earning her degree in Fashion at Kent University and after working for various high end designers in the UK. Her products are all locally produced in Tanzania and her signature, the use of the ‘Khanga’ and minimal use of the usual African fabric is what I believe makes her work stand out from the rest. The line, named Chichia, after her childhood nickname consists of an eclectic range of dresses and separates in modern, wearable shapes and styles made unique by clever use of eye-catching prints, embellishment, intricate detailing, a mix of natural fabrics and an extravagant colour palette. All I’m saying is, Beyonce wore it, we love Beyonce, so we love Chichia too.
4. Annesophie Achera for Achera Designs (Kenya): This up coming designer is a rising star in Kenya, already making her name well known in East Africa and I foresee her success in the global front as well. Ms Annesophie started out by designing and sewing her own outfits and for friends when she realized that this was what she wanted to do as a career. She then worked for AFWNY 2013 designer, Liz Ogumbo as a design assistant for about 2 years before branching out on her own and establishing her own label, named Achera Designs. She carefully designs her own pieces and is involved in all stages of production. Annesophie’s main mission is to bring out the sophistication out of the modern day woman. She expresses herself through her design and you can tell by the quality pieces she produces every time. She has participated in the FAFA awards where she was awarded the most promising designer award and also took her brand to the annual Swahili Fashion Week fashion show. Her work appeals to many women as she incorporates various fabrics in addition to the iconic African print such as chiffon, organza and lace to her timeless designs. If there ever was a designer to watch out for, this is her right here.
5. Sylvia Owori for Sylvia Owori (Uganda): Last but not at all least is East Africa’s fashion icon Sylvia Owori. Sylvia Owori is a fashion power house from Uganda who has been in the fashion industry for over a decade now. Having studied and been well trained in the fashion world by professionals in London, Sylvia returned to the motherland and used all her experience to make a name for herself not only in her homecountry but also within Africa and the world over. Her style is defined as bold and approachable at the same time. She draws inspiration from her Ugandan roots and the African lifestyle as well as through all the cultures she has been fortunate to experience through her various travels to the US and Europe.