By Paul Ndiho
August 16, 2012
Ugandan fashion designer Gloria Wavamunno has always been a fashion fanatic. She is the founder and artistic director of her own label, Gloria. And today, her use of the “African kitenge fabric” has made her one of the Africa’s top young designers, as she makes her mark in the fashion industry.
Gloria Wavamunno launched her clothing label in 2009, since then, she has stirred up quite a buzz on the global fashion scene. Wavamunno has participated in the London, New York and Johannesburg fashion weeks, showcasing innovative, unique and cutting edge fashion designs. Her works have also been featured in the prestigious arise magazine. Wavamunno’s fascination with fashion and love for raw african fabric started when she was a young girl– and now she competes with some of the biggest names in the african fashion industry.
“Probably from age thirteen I’d make little tank tops or little dresses from Africa fabrics. So it carried on with me to where i started to use it in my own brand — because it’s beautiful fabric and i also love anything that has a story to it.
Arise magazine says the rising designer’s collections are known for their uniqueness and amazingly and sharp cuts. But wavamunno also manages to maintain the eccentric, romantic feel of the garment. She accomplishes this with a smooth mesh, between the use of African fabrics, transformed into stylish pieces of contemporary african wear.
“I do hope that my brand does evolve and it changes with the time. Because i think we are in a period in the world that everything is changing and evolving at a rapid speed for the good and i just hope that my brand is able kind of tap into that whole change and be able to evolve.”
Wavamunno attributes her success to her parents and other supporters who pushed her to pursue her dream in the fashion industry.
“I’ve had wonderful role models in my life with very encouraging words as I was growing up. And the one thing that my mom said to me, when I was very young, that stuck through and kind of embodies a lot of what my brand if based on is that “if it doesn’t start with you, then who will it start with.”
Since the creation of Gloria, wavamunno has worked tirelessly to release a new collection every season, showcasing her best work in a very tough environment. Like other African fashion entrepreneurs that are based on the continent, she uses local, regional and continental expos to highlight and sell her brands.
“I do want my brand to be seen like any other big international brand that people from other parts of the world can embrace, wear it, and just hope for growth really so that i can continue doing what i love to do.
Fashion analysts say the industry has tremendous potential to meet the growing demand for high-end products in the global market– including Africa’s growing middle class. Wavamunno notes that young African designers can play a significant role, and be part of the change, that will boost development and growth on the continent.
“It’s extremely important that we’ll be part of the movement and the change that comes within Africa because as much as we know, we can always educate other people abroad on what really is happening here because we live here we are part of it and its part of our culture.”
As the Gloria label expands and makes its mark in the fashion world, other African designers are looking forward to expressing their creativity in the marketplace as well.