Kigali Fashion Week folds up

Tuesday June 16 2020

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Models during a previous Kigali Fashion Week event. PHOTO | FILE  

ANDREW I KAZIBWE
By ANDREW I KAZIBWE
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Lack of sponsors is taking toll on events in the country, forcing organisers to change tack of fold up.

For instance, organisers of the Kigali Fashion Week and Kigali International Fashion Week are in bowing out of the scene, thanks to withdrawal of sponsors.

Launched 10 years ago, Kigali Fashion Week held its last event last year, before the organisers decided to pursue other opportunities.

"We folded up the Kigali Fashion Week after we were faced with sponsorship challenges," said John Bunyeshuri. Most organisers had expressed desire to support this event, but this barely happens according to Bunyeshuri.

In the past, the event had attracted sponsors and partners like Mutzig Beer, Kigali Serena Hotel, Private Sector Federation (PSF), Ubumwe Grand Hotel, Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show, Kigali Natural Hair Saloon, Cleopatra Bar and Restaurant, but these didn't did not last long.

The Rwandan Development Board (RDB) recently expressed interest in the event, since it has in the past proved a stand, but Bunyeshuri said the organisers still await on the institution's way forward.

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"I have taken them through what it entails," he said.

Having registered immense success as the longest platform dedicated for local and international designers and models from Rwanda, Kigali Fashion Week had grown from initially presenting renowned local designers like Colombe Cyusa, Cynthia Rupali, Patrick Muhire and Francis Zahabu, to today's promising designers like Moses Turahirwa of Moshions, Delphine Fashion House, Cedric Mizero of Amizero, Uzi Collections, Doreen Umwali of D'zoyah Creations and Mundi Designs.

"We are not considering carrying on further with these events since it has been so troubling sustaining their organization," said Bunyeshuri.

In 2017, Kigali Fashion Week graduated from local to an international show that attracted global designers.

Kigali International Fashion Week was born, majorly to tap into a global space as well as eying international sponsorship deals. Since then, tours to various cities in Europe and the USA have been held to showcase designs by African fashion gurus in the diaspora.

Basing on the past 10 years of its movement, organisers seek a better o¬ er if it is to stay, "Unless we get a company willing to sign a two to three years' contract, then there is no hope.

To organisers, keeping other factors constant, it is estimated that Rrw50 million would help in the organising of the local annual edition, "A lot in cash needs to be invested in quality production and presentation of fashion events," he explains.