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The Inspirational Women Behind Rwanda’s Homegrown Fashion Trends

Fashion is a growing industry in Rwanda and continues to thrive with Rwandan designers making waves across the continent of Africa and beyond. While the Government of Rwanda has put in place the "Made in Rwanda" initiative to promote locally-made products, it is the local designers have been the driving force that has seen "Made in Rwanda" becoming a style and lifestyle choice for women in Rwanda and beyond. Gone are the days where women looked to Paris or Milan for style inspiration; today's Rwandan woman does not have to look far to discover bold fashion trends birthed by Rwanda's top female designers. Their fashion brands have combined exquisite design with African influences and modern design to create homegrown fashion trends that have captured both the traditions and aspirations of Rwanda.

Sonia Mugabo – Sonia Mugabo

Looking at Sonia Mugabo‘s designs, you can see the genius of her art.

She merges elegance and simplicity with beautiful bold patterns. Her trademark floral patterns are chic and classy, making them highly sought after by women from all spheres of Rwandan society; from influencers to politicians alike. Her designs are the epitome of effortless style, which every woman will admit is what we all look for in fashion.

Sonia Mugabo launched her eponymous brand in 2013 as a recent graduate from university in the USA. Upon her return, she set off to create her brand working alongside local artisans to produce high-quality, locally made clothes.

Since then Sonia Mugabo has been listed as 30-under-30 entrepreneurs by Forbes Africa and was featured in The New York Times.  As a young female entrepreneur, Sonia Mugabo is a role model for many young women interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry.


Linda Mukangoga – Haute Baso

Haute Baso creations can rival any designs in the pages of fashion magazines all around the globe. The Rwandan haute couture brand has been featured in Vogue Magazine and has continued to uplift the “Made in Rwanda” brand, showcasing their collection at the Johannesburg Mercedez Benz Fashion Week. The design aesthetic of Haute Baso is a minimalist high fashion suited for fashion conscious women. Founded by Linda Mukangoga, the ready-to-wear clothing brand translates the artistic design into functional, stylish clothes for the everyday woman.  Part of the brand’s mission is to empower young women by training them with skills that will help them to earn a living. Haute Baso works with women cooperatives to produce its clothing and crafts.


Teta Isibo – Inzuki Designs

Founded by Teta Isibo, Inzuki Designs is a lifestyle brand that produces 100% Rwandan-made jewelry, accessories and interior decor. Their trademark African inspired jewelry are statement pieces that give women the courage to be bolder with their looks.

Women across Rwanda and Africa are adorning Kobwa tassel earrings which testify to the trend-setting status of Inzuki. The brand is pushing Rwandan design, including imigongo art and jewelry inspired by traditional baskets (ibiseke) to a global audience where it has had a positive reception.

Teta Isibo founded Inzuki designs in 2012, and her vision for traditional jewelry and crafts with contemporary look and feel has taken hold.



Nathalie Remera and Rwema Umutoni Laurene – Uzi Collections

Uzi Collections is a clothing brand that creates clothing that has a unique African flair. Their designs are stylish and functional and capture the essence of Africa with their colorful and vibrant prints. More women in Rwanda and across the continent have taken to wearing African prints and unsurprisingly so with designs like Uzi Collections that provide a sleek, elegant look that is suitable for any occasion. The African print trend has been emerging across the continent, and Uzi Collections has influenced and elevated the trend here in Rwanda.

The brand was founded by two young women, Nathalie Remera and Rwema Umutoni Laurene, in 2015 when they decided to come together as business partners and create an impact in the fashion industry and in job creation for young people.


These female founders have been bold in their designs and in their entrepreneurship. The brands they have built have become the driving force of the Rwandan fashion industry.

Their fashion is bold, creative, connecting the traditional and the afro-futuristic – all with a touch of agaciro and brought to you in a way that is empowering to women and youth.

Sonia Mugabo, Haute Baso, Inzuki Designs and Uzi Collections will be showcasing their latest collections in the Rwanda Fashion Week alongside other local designers, namely House of Tayo and Moshions running from June 3-5 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Margaret is a writer and a communications enthusiast based in Kigali. She is passionate about telling stories that celebrate and inspire other women to be confident and unapologetically authentic.


Want to join a tribe of successful women who have your back? Contact the Career Women’s Network Kigali: info@careerwomensnetwork-kigali.com and +250783719431


2 comments

  1. Your blog on homegrown style patterns is extremely motivational . It shows how to build career in fashion design industry . The narrative of Sonia Mugabe is motivational for the individuals who wants to fabricate career in fashion industry . Hat’s off for your blog and data about style patterns . We have interesting range of new fashion style and patterns . we give such one of future fashion patterns

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