RCFS event now repackaged to promote cultural tourism

The fashion shows are expected to focus on cultural activities to promote tourism and Made-in-Rwanda designs. / Courtesy photos.

The next edition of the Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show (RCFS) will feature a series of shows promoting cultural tourism through fashion, as organisers look to reposition the annual event in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Like other fashion brands and shows around the world, the coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact on the Rwanda’s fashion industry amid the pandemic since March 14, when Covid-19 was first reported in the country. As a result, the pandemic has forced Rwandan fashion designers and organisers of annual events like Kigali Fashion Week, Rwanda Fashion Week (RWF), formerly (CollectiveRW Fashion Week), Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show to cancel the shows.

 However, fashion firms and shows that were fairly active before the coronavirus crisis will likely recover when industry insiders consider alternative approaches to keep it alive and running, said Celestin Ntawirema, the founder and brains behind the annual Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show. “We’re considering to shift our focus on developing creative ways aimed at promoting cultural tourism through fashion, having realized that chances of hosting this year’s edition are fading,” he said.


RCFS is among popular annual fashion events, organised since 2012, to provide a platform for emerging and established designers and models to showcase their work, as well as a platform linking local and international designers for potential opportunities.

 Speaking about the event, Ntawirema said that they already have activities in place from at Red Rocks, a cultural centre in Musanze District stretching from September 25-28.  The show will not showcase a cultural collection, but a variety of unique things including Rwandan traditional food, beverages, knitting and grain milling, among other things.

 “In order to boost domestic tourism, we have organised this event to show tourists the cultural garments and accessories Rwandans used to wear years ago,” he said.

“For example, what people wore during traditional ceremonies and different activities they used to engage in. All these are different things we can showcase,” he added. In December, the organisers expect to host a show at the King’s Palace, known as ‘Mu rukari’, in Nyanza District, to give young people an insight into what used characterise cultural events at the King’s palace.

 “The majority of Rwanda’s young generation do not have enough background on the history of fashion during the days of the Kingdom in Rwanda and we thought of this initiative not only to give them a chance to have an experience on the royal fashion code but also as a way to boost domestic tourism,”

 “We have a plan to showcase traditional clothes and we have already got experienced models who will display the traditional way,” he said. Over the past seven years, the Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show has been on a successful journey and has served as a bridge for different models to build their own careers and write their names on the Rwandan fashion scene.


Moshions founder, Moses Turahirwa, is among the models who used the platform to build their names to reach greater heights in Rwanda’s fashion industry. The RCFS has also started a weekly fashion TV talk show dubbed, Ikirezi Fashion Style (IFS), which airs every Saturday on Isibo TV, as a platform to give fashion lovers a glimpse into ‘behind the scenes’ on the goings-on in the local fashion industry.

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