For aspiring male fashion designers, the 2013 Vancouver Fashion Week presented hope and pride. Amongst a long list of male designers, Kasozi a Ugandan designer shined when he presented his Urban Indigenous Collection. Kasozi is a unique designer who captures the essence of his community and blends this softly with western style.
Like all designers the fashion world is brutal and real. It is difficult to break the ice and gain respect. For Kasozi his chance came this year when the organization Ujamaah Collaborations sponsored Kasozi to present his collection at the 2013 VFW. Kasozi flew into Vancouver and the fashion world with determination and pride. Since he was a child he explored sketching, tailoring, and re-crafting used clothing. There were many moments in his life when he was told to focus his energy on a more practical job but he refused to listen. He guided himself through a journey of learning and he did it because his heart told him to.
The 2013 VFW is filled with a diverse representation of male designers, yet Kazozi stands out. He is not the largest name in fashion design but it is his honesty, creativity, and raw talent, which motivated us all to listen and admire. As a self-taught designer Kazozi observed his fellow friends and community. His muse was not from a series of photographs or from a sculpture, instead is muse was his life, his community. He said, “I’m always inspired by the community I live in. It’s a community of different youth with different talents. We inspire each other, but the situation in Uganda, is people find it difficult to wear what they want because it’s expensive. So I came up with the idea of ‘two-in-one’ for diversity. You buy one, you get two. You can change your style with little money.”
Kasozi’s Urban Indigenous Collection is about overcoming economic situations by not letting money be the limiting factor. Before our very own eyes the models on the runway began to undress and transform their articles of clothing into something else, something useful, something trendy yet all together different! For example one model turned her cream blazer inside out into a stylish handbag. This simple creative, yet practical design impressed all the viewers at VFW 2013.
From New York, to London, to Paris, to Vancouver, Fashion Week is a global showing of talent. The presence of Kasozi enhanced what it means to be a global fashion network. It is with his actions we all see and feel something culturally new. For new designers, he shows us how individuality and perseverance can and will let you reach new levels.