Fashions fade, style is eternal said the French iconic designer Yves Saint Laurent a few decades ago. Those words kept alive the creative nerve of the designers. Today we are looking at a particular type of cloth and design which holds an important place in the clothing culture of Rwandans, and that is Umwitero.
The history of Umwitero dates back in the 1990’s when the Royal court, chiefs and rich personalities cherished this outfit which was mainly made in bark cloth and animal skins. The noble class found pleasure in wearing it in their daily life and its beauty had to reflect their powerful status.
Umwitero is a robe-like attire which hangs on the shoulder and is a signature piece of the designing house of Moses Turahirwa, Moshions. But when he decided to bring it back to life this piece he revolutionized it by adding a modern touch and using the modern fabrics (Cotton,Wool,Silk) and a diversification of colors, a bet which he won as he now holds in his clientele database names like Mani Martin, Massamba, Urban Boys, Former miss France Sonia Rolland, to only name a few.
Moses Turahirwa explains: “I was inspired by the royal outfit, and it is with pride in my culture that I wanted to create the perfect outfit reflecting the ancient times but with a modern touch that will be clothed by males and females and still express creativity, beauty and uniqueness”.
“A lot of people use the attire in their dowry ceremonies and I take pleasure in blending it with another piece of clothing. I can say that it is the piece-ambassador of my brand and every time that I design a new collection there will be a beautiful piece of it.” says Turahirwa Moses.
By Ivan Nyagatare