A collection made by Moshions clothing brand based in Rwanda (PHOTO MOSHIONS) A collection made by Moshions clothing brand based in Rwanda (PHOTO MOSHIONS)

“ Cagua means to select, these kinds of clothes are not good for our level now. At least a jacket you can wear it but there are some other small clothes I don’t want to mention here even you, you know …..[people laughing ]” said His excellence President of the Republic of Rwanda Paul Kagame during a ceremony in Kigali in 2016, telling other government officials about the impacts of secondhand clothes on Rwanda’s economy. 

There are a lot of expectations in the Rwanda fashion industry in 2024. We are expecting to have big fashion shows, individual fashion designer shows, exhibitions, and Rwanda models on international marketing by WEBEST Model Management, Rwanda’s leading modeling agency to send models to big international fashion weeks. Before we go to our expectations for this year, let’s look back at the journey of the Made in Rwanda movement and the ban on second-hand clothes. 347455990 6495688967141104 5758052091162209552 n 1080

A collection made by Rwanda clothing  (PHOTO RWANDA CLOTHING)

Before banning second-hand clothes in Rwanda No-one could believe that these luxury clothes on the African continent would soon be banned in the land of 1000 hills because there were so many businesses of second-hand clothes and even people were already integrated a culture of selling them walking around the streets in the capital city Kigali and other parts of the country’s cities.

Screen Shot 2024 01 13 at 4.03.23 PM

People selling second-hand clothes in Kigali (PHOTO INTERNET)

Between 2016 and 2017 is the period Rwandans will never forget because it was the time the government took strong measures to decrease the import of second-hand clothes. Some of these measures impacted many people especially those who were used to making a living from selling second-hand clothes.

On the other hand, this was a moment for Rwandan creators and entrepreneurs to invest in fashion businesses. In 2017 Made in Rwanda policy was created by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. This policy is aligned with Rwanda’s aspiration to become an upper middle income country by 2035 and higher income by 2050. It is recognized its contribution to meeting these targets will ensure Rwanda moves into the lower middle-income category, given its potential to contribute both to Rwanda’s economic growth in general and the trade balance in particular, as well as to productive employment.

“Many of us were born and found second-hand clothes here. We can’t just ban them because there are many people who benefit from them. Let’s find what else to give them before we totally ban second-hand clothes” added His excellence President of the Republic of Rwanda Paul Kagame during a ceremony in Kigali in 2016, telling other government officials about the impacts of second-hand clothes on Rwanda’s economy. 


Inside Uzuri K & Y: The brand is known for making good shoes mostly for women  (PHOTO UZURI K & Y)

Contribution of fashion shows in strengthening the fashion industry in Rwanda 

Before banning second-hand clothes, Rwanda's government knew it would be possible to ban second-hand clothes because many Rwandans were already convinced about wearing locally made clothes such as Kitenge. According to the expert in fashion and textile industry, some institutions were already working with startups in the movement of wear Made in Rwanda which made it possible

Rwanda AleidaStone Kitenge

Women in Rwanda wearing outfits made from Kitenge in the Southern Province (PHOTO ERIC)

MINICOM- was working with several fashion designers and PSF was working with other designers, then later the RDB did the same. Look at the fashion show events. The first fashion shows were organized between 2012 and 2015, these shows were like a school, it was not just to present a collection on the runway, It was also teaching Rwandans how to style. I remember many ministers were attending fashion shows in Kigali and they knew it is possible to continue building and promoting made in Rwanda products especially locally made clothes” A fashion Experts told the RCFS’s Media

julianneIn a blue dress, Madam Julienne Uwacu a Minister of Sports and Culture (MINISPOC) during the RCFS 2015 at the Milles Collines Hotel in Kigali

The Role of Kigali Fashion Week 

Kigali Fashion Week (KFW) was founded in 2012 by John Bunyeshuli with the aim to help fashion designers showcase their designs, promoting Made in Rwanda and creating new modeling agencies in Kigali. Since then, many young and upcoming fashion designers started to dream bigger and bigger.  The KFW helped many local fashion designers to get established and learn more about fashion shows and how to be prepared before showcasing in events.

KIGALI FASHION WEEKModels on the runway during the Kigali Fashion Week 2012 (PHOTO KFW)

Through the KFW many Rwandans were inspired and many people started to look outside the box and have different perspectives on second-hand clothes. The KFW helped some local fashion designers to showcase in the international fashion weeks in Europe.

The Role of Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show 

The Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show (RCFS) was founded in 2013 by Celestin Ntawirema which is a forum for local and international culture fashion designers to showcase their designs. It is unique by featuring designs from a variety of cultures. The RCFS came with a unique concept and reminded Rwandans about their history in cultural fashion styling where this event showcased early outfits made in backcloth and animal skins that Rwandans used to wear before the secondhand clothes arrived on the soil of Rwanda.

fashionModels in the runway in the RCFS2014 inside the stadium in Kigali (PHOTO RCFS)

Between 2014 and 2017 the RCFS invited many international fashion designers and models to come to showcase in Kigali which was a great inspiration to other local fashion entrepreneurs to meet and learn from the international fashion entrepreneurs.


Tanzanian fashion designer Makeke International showcasing in the RCFS 2019 (PHOTO RCFS)

What to expect in the 2024 fashion industry in Rwanda

Kigali city is becoming a vibrant city in Africa where many big conferences and summits are taking place in Rwanda. This gives a chance to event organizers to create events alongside these conferences and summits. In our expectation for 2024;  fashion designers, fashion shows, modeling, and exhibitions.  

Fashion designers 

 In terms of fashion designers, according to the performance of the last year 2023, many local fashion designers are ready to continue to create new collections. On their Instagram pages, the updates show that designers' efforts have been increased. These are the top 11 fashion designers who are creating more products in Rwanda:

1. Rwanda Clothing 419038127 3534579293521968 2360352887957572186 n 1080

Made by Rwanda Clothing (PHOTO RC)

2. Mille Collines 416308210 1417696862507748 2070072376165954812 n 1080

Made by Mille Collines (PHOTO MC)

3. Uzuri K & Y 337792493 706882101126508 4520768107700433258 n 1024

Made by Uziri K & Y (PHOTO K&Y)

4. Moshions 419487436 18413110015011680 852485214504217095 n 1080

Made by Moshions (PHOTO MOSHIONS)

5. Matheo Studio 417773292 18045148669585351 8147503190642426266 n 1080

Made by Matheo Studio (PHOTO MATHEO)

6. Inkanda House 415223124 18406130986046494 702231769188018150 n 1080 1

Made by Inkanda House  (PHOTO INKANDA)

7. Tanga Designs 371089590 971762384046603 7469506183758394586 n 1080

Made by Tanga Designs (PHOTO TANGA)

8. Haute Baso 407385473 18397234030050375 6450834952112409035 n 1080

Made by Haute Baso (PHOTO HAUTE BASO)

9. Dokmai Rwanda 330628035 111132135230051 7461581575931242144 n 1080

Made by Dokmai Rwanda. (PHOTO DOKMAI)

10. Sonia Mugabo 397529345 18394220125060894 3696876014011555830 n 1080

Made by Sonia Mugabo (PHOTO SONIA)

11. House of Tayo 407771492 3665254867048134 100097408547326977 n 1080

Made by House of Tayo (PHOTO HT)

Fashion shows

There are more than 5 big fashion show events in Rwanda; Kigali Fashion Week, Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show, CollectiveRw/Rwanda Fashion Week, Mercedes Benz Kigali Fashion Week, Rwanda Modesty Fashion Show, and the three new upcoming events; The Stage Fashion Showcase, Gorilla Fashion Week, and the RIDI Dance and Fashion Show. 290038914 358654126209390 6510453769268036091 n 1080

Model on the runway during the Rwanda Fashion Week 2022 (PHOTO RFW)

It is hard to say when some of these fashion weeks are scheduled in 2024 because some of them were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and some were closed temporarily. However, with the information the RCFS’s Media has, some of these events such as The Stage Fashion Showcase, Kigali Fashion Week, Mercedes Ben Kigali Fashion Week, and the CollectiveRw/Rwanda Fashion Week are going to happen this year. 284545421 778861316461493 5521237936788252736 n 1080

Models on the runway during the Mercedes Benz Kigali Fashion Week  2022 (PHOTO MBKFW)

Rwanda Models on the International Market

Modeling business in Rwanda is among the growing sectors in the fashion industry. There are more than 20 modeling agencies across the country. The leading modeling agency is WEBEST Model Management which was founded by former models Franco Kabano and Sara Cyntia. The WEBEST agency has been sending models to different international fashion weeks such as Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, and New York Fashion Week. 384754835 18053417203480120 769985679577052508 n 1080WEBEST Model in PARIS FASHION WEEK ss24 380994136 18052623595480120 5760769157091580151 n 1080WEBEST Model in MILAN FASHION WEEK ss24

According to the management of WEBEST Model Management, this year is going to be as good as the past 3 years ago as they have enough connections to find jobs for their models.  

“Next year is going to be good for us and our models of course. We have already established good connections with international agents. We have a calendar and we know when some of these fashion weeks are going to happen soon, we will tell more about our 2024 contracts and transfers” said the WEBEST Model Management during an interview last year in 2023 378322764 18051415972480120 110591592181138798 n 1080



Kwita Izina Side events (Exhibitions and Fashion Shows) 

It is been about 7 years since the members of the collectiveRw/ Rwanda Fashion Week have been organizing side fashion shows and big showcasing in the gala dinners before and after Kwita Izina Ceremony. The Kwita Izina ceremony is among the top big event that brings together many people from all over the world. This has been a good platform for some of the local fashion designers to meet and sell at good prices to international guests and celebrities.

ALSO READ: Few local fashion designers were able to sell during the Kwita Izina Ceremony 2023

The ceremony itself is known to style the guests the same way who come to name gorillas in a traditional outfit” Umukenyero” which is made by local fashion houses.  Last year, it was expected that the CollectivRw/ Rwanda Fashion Week would organize side events like fashion shows or exhibitions which they didn’t.

375742749 716161627212765 2646126724596882760 nGorillas Namers wearing Umucyenyero during the Kwita Izina Ceremony 2023 - Made by Rwanda Clothing  (PHOTO RC)

375688286 716159383879656 4043907241929583957 nGorillas Namer wearing Umucyenyero during the Kwita Izina Ceremony 2023 - Made by Rwanda Clothing  (PHOTO RC)

375673355 716161630546098 4173562310039051588 nGorillas Namer wearing Umucyenyero during the Kwita Izina Ceremony 2023 - Made by Rwanda Clothing  (PHOTO RC)

375752776 716159387212989 5386369235088154782 nGorillas Namer wearing Umucyenyero during the Kwita Izina Ceremony 2023 - Made by Rwanda Clothing  (PHOTO RC)

By RCFS's Media 

Read 2353 times Last modified on Sunday, 14 January 2024 10:51
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