The Kigali Fashion Week, an annual fashion event dedicated to nurturing and promoting African fashion brands is considering bowing out of the local events market, following a struggle for sponsorship.
John Bunyeshuri, the Kigali Fashion Week founder, said most local sponsors don’t work well with creatives.
“They prefer working alone and dictating to organisers how to do things,” said Mr Bunyeshuri, adding, “There is no market here and if we keep organising it here, it will not last.”
The organisers require an estimated Rwf40 million to run each annual edition, but this has proven to be challenging.
In recent years, the event has worked with sponsors and partners like Mutzig Beer, Kigali Natural Hair Saloon, the Kigali Serena Hotel, Private Sector Federation, Ubumwe Grand Hotel, Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show, Cleopatra Bar and Restaurant among others, but the list has continuously reduced, affecting the event’s operations.
“We have recently received request to host the event in other countries,” said Mr Bunyeshuri.
In 2017, the event rebranded from the Kigali Fashion Week to the Kigali International Fashion Week. This saw its activities expanded to other countries in Europe and the USA where it showcased African fashion designers.
In May, Kigali International Fashion Week was launched in Brooklyn, USA, where it attracted over 6,000 people.
Mr Bunyeshuri said they are considering seeking foreign sponsorship.
The event featured designers like Sol and Wax, Ferooz Chris, Dzoyah Creations, Delphine Fashion House, Uwamahoro Delphine, Inkanda House, Rupari designs, Mary Angel, Elite designs, Turuso, Amami, Kente Christabel, Esther Creations, Real Manembe, TMP Empire, Sahorn among others, from Rwanda, USA, Germany, Switzerland, Burundi, Uganda, Italy, Nigeria, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and others.