Researchers meet with local fashion designers and other value chain players to get a deeper understanding of the sector in Rwanda. This also informed on building bridges between sector players with a focus on strengthening production and retail network while looking into possible collaboration and investment opportunities.
The Rwandan fashion scene is growing, designers are expanding their businesses and collaborating. There is however a need for an increased range of service providers that support the fashion designers i.e fashion photographers, stylists and bloggers. Currently, the fashion designers have to take on all these roles. There is also a need for more production facilities or an expansion of the main one that serves all the main designers in Rwanda “Kaliza”. Tailoring cooperatives are also used to produce large orders. Rwanda also has a very small textile industry and they produce very basic fabrics, this has forced designers to have to look internationally for fabrics. Which in turn has led to an increase in the cost of production.
There are currently two main designers associations Designers Associations of Rwanda and Collective RW. All the designers have to be registered with the Rwandan Fashion Designers Association (RFDA), they also receive support from Rwanda development board (RDB). RW collective is a new association that was founded in 2015 by four designers Linda Mukangnga of Haute Baso, Sonia Mugabo, Teta Isibo of Inzuki designs and Matthew Rugamba of House of Tayo. They came together after seeing a need for a strong platform to showcase their designs. They held their first fashion week in October 2016. Their aim is to promote the finest national and regional fashion and to encourage collaboration throughout Africa.