Traditional Meets Boss: Fashion designer Gloria Wavamunno shows how to wear the kitege trend and how to tell the fakes from the originals


Gone are the days when kitenge was used to make traditional wear. Apparently in Kampala the material is making rounds in offices across the Town. The material has gained popularity in the last 5 years and it is presumed to have been made popular in Uganda by the outage of Nigerian music on the international market where songs like “Johnny” and others have women wearing funky kitenge round skirts.

(Piece by Gloria Wavammunno)

In Kampala local designers have focused on making round skirts for the ever evolving city trend setters on a commercial level. But a  large group of various designers have played with these kinds of fabrics for years, it really is now that we’ve started being able to sell them as common textures for garments in our day to day lives and testing the ability in what kind of garments can be produced and kept sustainably.

It’s always good for a trend to help a brand sell, but in the business of fashion one must always be evolving. From the styles one designs to the type, colour, texture of materials one picks.

Clothes have a trend moment but at the end of the day they need to be functional, particular, stylish, tailored correctly and fresh whether in a kitenge fabric or not.

Here are a few tips on how to know the fakes from the originals

When you go out to buy your Kitenge skirt you need to be more conscientious. I don’t want to sound like a brand ambassador for kitenge, matter of fact it has been around longer than I have existed but there are variations in this material.

In the fake materials the colour runs when you wash them and in the original material the colour doesn’t run. This can also be differentiated at a shop, when the material of the kitenge you want to buy doesn’t penetrate the inside of the fabric it’s a fake, and if the colour penetrates then it’s an original.

If your local designer is creating quality pieces, you should support him or her it’s more important that work is locally made and bought, it boosts the fashion industry.

My advice to designers is, now that we are gaining recognition, we should improve the quality of production and dying technique. If the dye doesn’t stick and penetrate the material, then you should know something is wrong with the dye, the material or both, or the way they are being handled.

If your facilities are not good for fabric construction you should improve your facilities and training/understanding to handle the construction of fabric. Remember clothes are like food, they are enjoyed by the eyes and the heart, always give them both.




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