Fashion is many things and performs various functions beyond allowing people to express themselves. It is art, it is history, it is empowerment. Fashion is business, economic development, and it is even technology. It’s a chance to share culture with the world and spread color and hope, and in Rwanda, that is certainly the case. We have had countless graduates from PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® in the fashion industry who have gone on to excel in business and create real progress in their countries. The following are a few who have recently turned heads in the media (and within the IEEW office).
Kevine Kagirimpundu (class of 2013) and Ysolde Shimwe (class of 2015): Recently named one of the top Africa Netpreneurs for 2019, Kevine co-founded Uzuri KY, an eco-friendly African shoe brand, with Ysolde Shimwe, another PTB graduate from 2015. Through their company, they are training youth and providing jobs, but also donating shoes to those in need. These two are demonstrating what it means for fashion entrepreneurs to pay it forward. As leaders in their industry, they are setting precedence for others.
Aimee Claudine Umuhoza (class of 2017): Claudine recently showcased her fashion line from her company, Cocomod Ltd. at the African Fashion Reception 2019 in Paris. She is leading Rwanda’s International presence and sharing the culture of her home country, all while running a profitable fashion business as a powerful woman entrepreneur.
Teta Isibo (class of 2012): Teta’s company, Izuki Designs, which creates beautiful jewelry, accessories and interior décor sold globally, has caught the eye of renowned model, actress, and fashion icon Naomi Campbell. Campbell has “pledged to work with the local fashion industry in an aim to get them onto a globally competitive platform” according to this September article from The New Times. Along with working with international fashion icons, in August, Teta was featured in the 2019 Forbes Africa Regional Forum, speaking on the topic of ‘Women Leading Creative Economies.’
These are just a few of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® graduates in Rwanda who are scaling their fashion businesses and causing the world to notice the bright and promising Rwandan fashion industry, all while setting an example and empowering the future generations in a country whose youth population is one of the highest in the world.