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Celebrating Top 16 Female Entrepreneurs: Driving Innovation and Empowerment in Rwanda's Fashion Industry Celebrating Top 16 Female Entrepreneurs: Driving Innovation and Empowerment in Rwanda's Fashion Industry

Celebrating Top 16 Female Entrepreneurs: Driving Innovation and Empowerment in Rwanda's Fashion Industry 

The fashion industry in Rwanda has seen a significant rise in recent years, and women have played a crucial role in its development. Despite facing various challenges, Rwandan women in the fashion sector have demonstrated remarkable resilience, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit. This story is developed from the original story published by UZURI K &Y.

The article highlights the remarkable female entrepreneurs shaping Rwanda's fashion industry.  It celebrates their contributions to innovation, inclusivity, and empowerment, showcasing their dedication to quality, sustainability, and community upliftment. By recognizing these trailblazing women, the article aims to inspire future generations and elevate the visibility of Rwandan fashion on the global stage.

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Ms. UWAMARIYA Solange inside UZURI K & Y shoe factory in Kigali [PHOTO UZURI K &Y]

 In the ever-evolving world of fashion, we honor Women's Month by celebrating the outstanding female entrepreneurs shaping Rwanda's vibrant fashion landscape. From clothing to accessories, these visionary leaders are revolutionizing the industry while uplifting communities and driving economic progress.

1.  One standout figure is Sonia Mugabo, whose namesake brand has garnered acclaim for its modern aesthetic and sustainable ethos. Inspired by Rwandan culture and craftsmanship, Mugabo's designs pay homage to the nation's rich heritage while embracing contemporary style. For the past 10 years, her eponymous brand has employed local artisans to make high-quality "Made in Rwanda" clothes. Focusing on versatility, detail, and fabric, Sonia Mugabo builds a conscious brand centered on elegant and timeless creations. A pioneer of Rwanda’s fashion industry, she is setting the standard for Rwandan fashion in global and local markets.

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Ms. Sonia Mugabo Founder and Creative Director at Sonia Mugabo fashion house [ PHOTO SM]

 

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Made by Sonia Mugabo [PHOTO SM]

2. Girabawe Gloria, the founder of Flove Rwanda, leads a Rwandan-based social enterprise dedicated to producing eco-friendly, reusable handbags. Flove's mission extends beyond fashion, aiming to empower teenage mothers in Rwanda by providing them with sustainable livelihoods. Through their products, Flove seeks to challenge societal norms surrounding teenage pregnancy and instill confidence in young women.

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Ms. Girabawe Gloria Founder and Creative Director at Flove Rwanda [PHOTO GG]

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Bags made by Flove Rwanda [PHOTO FR]

3. Sarah Legrand,  as the CEO of K'tsobe Jewelry, brings a unique touch of elegance to the fashion world with her exquisite pieces. Crafted from a blend of natural and noble materials, Legrand's jewelry is inspired by nature, Rwandan symbols, and global cultures, offering a distinctively beautiful aesthetic.

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Ms Sarah Legrand Founder and Creative Director at K'tsobe Jewelry [PHOTO SL]

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Jeweies made by K'tsobe Jewelry [PHOTO KJ]

4. Teta Isibo is a self-taught fashion designer and entrepreneur passionate about youth entrepreneurship and mentorship, women empowerment, Africa's development, Business and leadership, Innovation, Rwanda, fashion design, interior design, and all things design. She is the founder and creative director of Inzuki Designs.

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Ms. Teta Isibo Founder and Creative Director at Inzuki Designs [ PHOTO TI]

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Handmade jewelry made by Inzuki Designs [PHOTO ID]

5. Joselyne Umutoniwase the founder of Rwanda Clothing Ltd which started in 2012 aims to offer well-tailored pieces and customized clothing made in Rwanda by Rwandans. The company started with two tailors and today has forty-five full-time and more than 50 part-time employees from different associations of women especially for the home decor pieces. Rwanda Clothing Home Ltd has two showrooms in Kigali and a production space. The company has a solid foundation and a successful growth curve. The brand is becoming well known not only within Rwanda but also across Africa and the world. It is a global brand.

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Ms. Joselyne Umutoniwase Founder and Creative Director at Rwanda Clothing [PHOTO RC]

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Made by Rwanda Clothing [PHOTO RC]

 6. Haute Baso is an ethical lifestyle brand for the modern individual looking for thoughtful, simple, and functional designs. It offers an experiential shopping experience with blends of premium made-in-Rwanda fashion, food and beverage, and arts. It is centered around the belief that “two heads are better than one” using fashion as a vehicle for positive change towards the empowerment of women and youth who are integral to our value chain while contributing to the preservation of culture in Rwanda. 

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Ms. Linda Mukangoga (right) and Ms. Candy Basomingera Co-founders of the Haute Basso [PHOTO INTERNET]

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Made by Haute Basso [PHOTO HB]

7. Karssh Collections Ltd is a woman-owned made in Rwanda brand founded by Karen N Uwera in 2008.KarSSH is a bespoke and made-to-order brand that produces to create a sync between modernity, Rwandan culture, and its beautiful nature. The brand aims to create Rwandan fashion trends upholding the beautiful uniqueness of Rwandan culture, climate, and nature. 

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Ms. Karen N Uwera Founder and Creative Director at Karssh Collections [PHOTO KNU]

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Made by Karssh Collections [PHOTO KNU]

8Glo Creations was founded in 2008, by Ms. Gloria KAMANZI UWIZERA. The company has its extensive network in the Rwandan market and has gained an in-depth understanding of the handcraft sector. Its mission is to deliver quality products by blending quality and efficiency while maintaining integrity and dedication toward environmental and social responsibilities.

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 Ms. Gloria KAMANZI UWIZERA Founder and  Creative Director at Glo Creations [PHOTO GLO CREATIONS ]

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Living room Cushions made and designed by Glo Creations [PHOTO GLO CREATIONS]

9. Uzi Collections is one of the leading and pioneering fashion brands in Rwanda. It was founded in 2015 by Umutoni Rwema Laurène with the aim of providing unique and high-quality Made in Rwanda clothes that were hard to access. Her passion for fashion and her dream to change the country’s apparel industry made the young entrepreneur grow the business from a small brand with one tailor to one of the most-known fashion houses in Rwanda. Uzi Collections is a female-led business that beliefs in empowering young and particularly female tailors.

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Ms. Laurene Umutoni Rwema CEO and Founder of UZI Collectios[ PHOTO LUR]

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Collection made by Uzi Collections [PHOTO UZI COLLECTIONS]

10Touch of Rwanda Fashion Designs is a fashion brand based in Rwanda that sells clothes in different materials by sizes, and we have a custom-made for men, women, and kids, plus different accessories such as bags, bathrobes, bed covers, and tablecloths. Touch Of Rwanda Fashion Designs Ltd was founded by Shema Charlotte. 

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Ms.  Shema Charlotte Founder and Creative Director at Touch of Rwanda Fashion Designs [PHOTO SHEMA]

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 Made by the  Touch of Rwanda Fashion Designs [PHOTO SHEMA]

 11.  The Mille Collines story begins in Kigali in 2008 when the paths of two passionate women crossed: Antoinette, a Rwandan seamstress, and Ines, a Spanish design student. They both shared the same vision; a belief that uniting talents would lead to creating groundbreaking products in Africa. Ines’ best friend Marc joined her in Rwanda and with Antoinette’s mentorship, they created the first apparel collection. In 2009 the brand was co-founded by Marc and Ines, the artisans and design team at the first Kigali Atelier voted for the name ‘Atelier des mille collines’.

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Ms. Maye Srouji  CEO of the Mille Collines [PHOTO MS]

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 Made by the  Mille Collines [PHOTO MC]

12. Dokmai  is a newcomer in Rwanda, but the company has its roots in Laos. For 8 years Dokmai produced Fair Trade handmade goods, specializing in hand-woven and naturally dyed silk products following both traditional styles and en vogue fashion. In 2014, Bernadette Umunyana left Southeast Asia and decided to restart a new handicraft business aiming at attracting the attention of the international community for the beauty of Rwanda in promoting exquisite handicraft products inspired by the splendor of the country of a thousand hills. 

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Ms. Bernadette Umunyana CEO and founder of Dokmai [PHOTO DOKMAI]

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Nice handbags Made by Dokmai [PHOTO DOKMAI]

 13.  Gahaya Links After the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, thousands of women were left as widows, single mothers, and orphaned teenage girls who were the sole income providers for their families. Sisters Joy Ndunguste and Janet Nkubana recognized the opportunity to use traditional Rwandan weaving as a means of income generation and created Gahaya Links as a training facility and marketplace to economically empower Rwandan women.

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Joy Ndunguste Chief Executive Officer and Founder Gahaya Links  [PHOTO GAHAYA LINKS]

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Janet Nkubana Managing Director & Co-Founder of Gahaya Links [PHOTO GAHAYA LINKS]

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Decorations made by Gahaya Links [GAHAYA LINKS]

14. Azizi Life began in 2008 as an initiative of the Christian nonprofit, Food for the Hungry. Through a business development program, with a number of artisan cooperatives including women. Azizi Life was begun to honor the initiatives and work of the artisans and serve as a bridge to customers around the world.

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Ms. Jeannine, Chief Executive Officer at Azizi Life Rwanda [PHOTO AZIZI]

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Purses made by Azizi Life Cooperative [PHOTO AZIZI]

16.  Additionally, we celebrate Kevine Kagirimpundu and Ysolde SHIMWE founders of UZURI K & Y who have been pivotal in driving innovation and inclusivity in the Rwandan fashion landscape. Uzuri K&Y is renowned for its commitment to quality, sustainability, and empowerment, making strides in promoting Rwandan fashion both locally and globally. 

UZURI K&Y is an African-inspired eco-friendly shoe brand that champions sustainability through its innovative use of the 4R technology: recycling, reusing, recovering, and reducing car tires to create eco-friendly footwear. Founded in 2013 by two visionary friends, Ms. Ysolde and Ms. Kevine, the company emerged with a mission to address pressing environmental and unemployment challenges within their community.

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Kevine Kagirimpundu CoFounder & CEO UZURI K&Y [PHOTO KEVINE]

"As we celebrate Women's Month, let us commend the resilience and innovation of Rwandan female entrepreneurs. Their dedication to tradition, sustainability, and craftsmanship not only shapes the fashion industry but also inspires future generations to pursue bold dreams and effect positive change" UZURI K & Y 

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Ysolde Shimwe  Co-Founder &  Creative Director at UZURI K&Y [PHOTO Ysolde]

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Shoes made by UZURI K & Y [PHOTO UZURI K & Y]

THE RCFS'S MEDIA 

Read 294 times Last modified on Sunday, 24 March 2024 11:13
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