GloriaWavamunno is an artistic director to #Gloria Wavamunno, a ready to wear womens label based in Uganda.
She was about 5 years old when she used to wonder around in her mothers workshop all the time and touch different fabrics.
From that moment, Gloria fell in love with fashion; call it her first love and she immediately developed the urge to know more about it. Its in the same moment that she started the journey of understanding who she was supposed to be, where her identity would grow to fit in society and create her life.
When she was 16 years old, her art teacher, Mr. Smally caught her sketching an outfit and asked her if she had interest in becoming a #fashion designer. By then, Gloria didnt really understand design since her mum was just a tailor and not a fashion designer. Mr Smally made a big impact in her life by telling her a lot about fashion design from which she started looking at different designers works.
After some years, Gloria went abroad and was able to work in high street and luxury design were she saw different levels from retail to actually a design team in a studio. She also worked at fashion weeks and was an assistant at some point till she formed her own label.
To date, Gloria Wavamunno has won several awards including; Overall Designer of the Year, Afrikan Fashion Awards 2010; Most Inspiring Designer of the Year, Afrikan Fashion Awards 2012; Fashion Contributor , Kadanke Youth Fest & Awards 2014; and Best Fashion Designer, Uganda Entertainment Awards 2015.
In order to be able to work and grow as a fashion designer, GloriaWavamunno shared some insight on what inspires her and how she has managed to create amazing garments that suit just any womans fashion needs.
Q. How would you describe your brand, who is it meant for?
GW: My brand is meant for any woman, of any age.
Part of my brand identity is me trying to be part of stories, showing how we all have different backgrounds, thoughts and characters through clothes. At the end of the day this is life and I think everyone should wear what clearly shows ones personality.
Q. Your brand is growing at a very high rate, how do you plan on letting the world know more of your designs?
GW: I like things to be natural and I dont like to push stuff. I feel like when the attention is there, it will be there. I want my clothes to be strong but sometimes to over promote that, I have to promote myself which I personally dont want to do because am a very private person.
At the end of the day am just a designer and am trying to make quality clothes that people take home and pass on to other people. I just focus on making durable clothes and making the process of buying my products easy.
Q. The fashion industry in Africa has developed especially in Nigeria and South Africa. What do you think needs to be done so that Uganda is among the top fashion countries in Africa?
GW: We need to have proper fashion and design education, things dont just blossom. The government should put a lot of effort in setting up exchange visits for fashion and design students from the rest of the world to Uganda but there is no way to do this if even a standard fashion school doesnt exist.
We also need more people who are trained abroad to come give back to their country through fashion and design.
Q. Whats your personal style like?
GW: I dont like so much fuss and am very particular about materials and colours but other than that I wear versatile clothes. I also like quality clothes, those that last longer with great texture which am confortable in. I like very under toned colours and I like brightness around me but am not one to wear a bright outfit because I like to blend in.
Q. As a fashion designer; do you also design clothes for yourself or for others only?
GW: Its natural for me to wake up and make a cloth for myself. Its the way I am, and am that person who buys second hand clothes and renovates them to suit me perfectly. Im not that person to buy designer clothes just because they are designer clothes. I buy them if they suit me perfectly and compliment my looks.
Q. Business is tough. What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
GW: Its been difficult to get employees who are trained in this craft but I understand this because of the lack of high level of experience. Its hard to employ someone who doesnt love this, sometimes they just come in for the money. However much I give training I need someone with basic knowledge. Thats why am very proud to have met my head designer who has high experience in the field of fashion and design.
Q. Fashion is time consuming and can sometimes be stressful. How do you relax?
GW: I just try to shut off from my phone. Relaxing to me is like looking at art. Sometimes I look at my computer, walk and look outside. Am lucky that my work has a lot to do with my natural personality because at the end of the day I feel like am relaxing when Im doing my job. I only turn off the business side like not replying to emails.
Q. Is there anyone who inspires you the in the world of fashion? If so who
GW: One of the people who have inspired me greatly throughout the world of fashion is the late Alexander McQueen who had a great mind that I really admired; he explained fashion through his creativity. I have never wanted to be McQueen but I immensely respected him for the thoughts he put in making clothes.
Not forgetting my current inspirations from Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto and Vivienne Westwood.
Q. Many young ladies look at you as an inspiration, what advice would you give them in building their own fashion brand?
GW: Oh thats lovely!
Dear ladies, dont ever sell yourselves short. Unfortunately we still have a very strong society that puts women on a lower level than men and as much as we are lucky, there are some things expected to be given by men.
You as a girl you have to know that your value is not the way you look and not the person you may marry. Those are just blessings but at the end of the day you have much to offer to the people around you and to the world. Society should not define your value. As a woman, be yourself, dont try to be the girl next to you, dont try to be the girl others want you to be or the girl you see on TV, just be you.
“Am glad that my parents never thought of me as being delusional when I told them how I wanted to have my own fashion brand, they gave me support to go to school and learn more about fashion design. They guided and told me how getting experience in any kind of profession mattered.” – Says Gloria Wavammuno