The 12 Most Influential People in Fashion in Uganda
Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of something or someone. But, how do you measure it? Is it through the number of people, one has mentored? Or the successful projects they have under their belt? An influential person is one whose actions and opinions strongly influence the course of events.
Fashion is a fast growing industry in Uganda. The people on this list have in one way or another influenced the way people dress, the designers making the clothes or even changed people’s mindsets towards fashion in Uganda. They’ve not only perfected their craft, but are also using their power to lay a foundation for the future. In no particular order, meet the most influential people in fashion in Uganda.
- Nabagereka Sylvia Nagginda
The Queen of Buganda is arguably one of the most stylish women in Uganda. She’s a style icon to many, especially women from Buganda, thanks to her effortless style and elegance. She always steps out impeccably dressed in custom made Busuutis and intricately embroidered evening gowns. She’s living proof that one can be a royal and still be relatable, often attending social events in Kampala. Her great style and philanthropic work has been covered by international press such as Vogue Italia, the most influential style magazine in the world. Inspired by her elegance and grace, early this year Sylvia Owori announced that she’s working on a Busuuti line in collaboration with her.
- Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya
Princess Bagaaya has amassed a long and enviable resume, working in the government as a minister and envoy, in the fashion world as an accomplished model and in the entertainment industry as an actor. This well-schooled royal was the first black woman to appear on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, an American fashion magazine. In 1974, she caused a stir, when she gave a speech as Uganda’s then Foreign minister at the UN General assembly dressed in a long gold-brocade Chinese gown and her hair braided into a crown by a Nigerian hairdresser she flew in just for the occasion. She set a new hair-trend for black women, and also landed the front page of the New York Times.
Early this year, American designer Zac Posen announced that his Spring Summer 2016 show presented at New York Fashion Week in February was inspired by the “stunning Oxford educated #PrincessElizabethof Toro”, he shared on Instagram. The runway show, which featured only models of colour was closed by Uganda model Aamito.
- Queen Best Kemigisa
An advocate of the Suka, the traditional wear of the Batooro, Queen Best Kemigisha is one of the most stylish women in Ugandan. Her style and grace has inspired many women especially Batooro that, they can still look modern and trendy in their traditional wear. She often attends high end events in her beautifully embroidered dresses, often stealing style points without even trying.
- Keturah Kamugasha
Keturah is the editor-in-chief of Flair for her magazine, a lifestyle magazine for women. She has for many years used her popular style columns both in the Newvision newspaper and her magazine, to influence what people wear and the designers of the moment. Through her writing, she has shared her knowledge on fashion with the rest of the world, while also inspiring young fashion writers and journalists.
- Gloria Wavamunno
An accomplished designer and tailor, Gloria Wavamunno continues to raise the bar high for fashion in Uganda with her brainchild, Kampala Fashion Week. She chose to live and work in Uganda, to use her genius to impact the local industry. Kampala Fashion Week is the most influential fashion platform in Uganda, often attracting designers from as far as London to fly in and showcase their new designs.
- Joram Muzira
The models who walk the runways are such a crucial element of the shows, bringing to life the creative vision of designers. Casting directors are usually charged with the role of hiring the right models for the job. Joram Muzira has grown to become the most in demand casting director and model manager in the business. His shrewd and tough demeanor has polished the careers of most of the successful models now including Aamito and Patricia Akello among others.
- Kalungi Kabuye
The no-nonsense arts and lifestyle journalist has helped launch the careers of many local designers often supporting them in his articles and reviews. His articles have a number of times ruffled a few feathers, but what’s influence without a bit of controversy.
- Santa Anzo
Santa Anzo is one of the most successful designers in Uganda, running her business in Kampala. Her main focus is usually on designs with an African element and she’s a big advocate of African print. She organized the first fashion week in Uganda, the Uganda International Fashion Week. She’s a celebrated entrepreneur and business woman, often doing motivation speaking to young people. She’s supported the careers of many up and coming designers.
- Brenda Nanyonjo
Brenda is one of the few stylists from Uganda to have great success. She styled most of the beautiful fashion stories featured in African Woman magazine back in the day, and long after the magazine folded, she’s still the go to stylist for many big name celebrities in Kampala. Not afraid to innovate, early this year she launched ‘Miss B Jeans, a denim line for women with curves. She’s also the current holder of the Miss Uganda franchise.
Aamito is not just an icon in the modeling world, she’s a huge inspiration to many young people in Uganda. A trip to Kenya on a bus, to audition for Africa’sNext Top Model changed her life completely. After winning the TV show, she has gone on to have an accomplished career, walking for almost all the big name designers in Milan, London, Paris and New York; appearing in British Vogue, Yahoo Fashion, Vogue Espana, W Magazine and many other major fashion publication. She has also been featured in advertising campaigns for brands such as Marc Jacobs and Other stories.
- Ahumuza Brian
There’s no way you can mention fashion in Uganda and leave out Ahumuza Brian of Abryanz Collection. What started as a retail shop selling clothes in downtown Kampala is now a huge phenomenon. His styling genius has been tapped by many brands and big name celebrities for press appearances and in advertising. His unique style sense has inspired many trends in Kampala, and he has greatly influenced how men view fashion. What he wears, everyone will follow and wear? His brand grew to include an annual event, the Abryanz Fashion & Style Awards, a platform that awards and recognizes movers in the fashion industry.
- Sylvia Owori
Arguably the most powerful woman in fashion in Uganda, Sylvia Owori is a forward thinking creative, always putting out collections that attract so much traction from across the globe. The British educated designer has impacted the industry in a number of way, giving people jobs, dressing them and most importantly, inspiring many young designers. She now hosts The Style Project on NTV where she shares her style genius with the rest of the world. Her comments on the show have many times sparked controversy, but again, what’s influence without controversy?
Do you know any other people you feel are influential? Share in the message box below.
Photo credit: African Woman Magazine/ Facebook