Imandwa Fashion Collection at live event in Kigali

Saturday November 13 2021

An enthusiast incorporated into the setting by models at Imandwa Fashion Collection. PHOTO | ANDREW I KAZIBWE | NMG


As live fashion events made a disappearance under the Covid glare, the launch of Imandwa Fashion Collection by Rwanda’s Moshions Fashion House has relit the stage and set a blistering pace for the fashion industry.

Imandwa has also sparked debate on the critical but uncomfortable discussion surrounding gender stereotyping and masculinity and their place present traditional and contemporary society.

The November 8 and 9 showcase at Atelier, the newly re-launched space in Kimihurura, Kigali, rekindled the space that audiences knew events to be.

Easing of the pandemic-related lockdowns saw a gradual return of music concerts but Imandwa took to fashion.

Of note about this collection is the bringing together of the handicraft of Moses Turahirwa of Moshions, who designs outfits inspired by traditional and ancient art and designs. Right from Umwitero, the traditional wearable robe, complimented with entwined beadwork from the Imigongo, an ancient art form, into various finishes.

Cedric Mizero of Amizero Designs sparked debate especially for his unique makes; of abstract craft inspired by life and nature themes like the environment, space, and the wild, which he believes speak to generations.


This year's collection follows their first collaboration last year where they produced the Zero-Waste Jacket, a long-sleeved stylish unisex outfit designed from recycled remains of leftover cloths pieces.

Striking difference

Unlike the typical fashion events where models graced the runways, Imandwa is a fixed exhibition, of live fashion models posing amidst traditionally crafted and preassembled fore and backgrounds, which occupy Atelier’s upper space.

A lively curated tour guide by the designers themselves takes the audience through their creations.

Male models dressed in jackets, shirts and shorts, made mostly from wool, and silk. The outfits sport partially hand-dyed baselines along with the trousers. To add sparkle, they are ornamented with tailored hand-beaded embroidery of traditionally shaped craft. The outfit is supplemented with the Umwitero, a light silky robe that is wrapped from the shoulder, chest to waist.

The showcase is backed by well-crafted traditional sets, of a different make. One has bean ornaments, another stands amidst hundreds of bricks. Yet another in between clay pottery, while the last two models emerge from what seems like a grass-thatched African village hut.

Gender stereotypes

Imandwa brings to fore tradition. Even in their past collections, there has been a running theme to address gender stereotyping, with masculinity at the fore.

The male models, clad in African masks designed to emulate Rwandan faces of Amasunzu, an ancient hairstyle, emerge from the background and stand. For a few minutes, they look straight up, then slowly take off the mask, pose a little more before returning to their hideouts or safe spaces.

Present-day society still pressures men to honour the traditional stereotypes of not showing vulnerability, concealing pain, wear stoic faces even when they hurt. “We are finding it so much harder to be men,” Turahirwa states.

This exhibition follows several major events where both these designers have taken part such as the Kigali Fashion Week and the Collective Rw-Week of Fashion.

Mizero also showcased in London’s 2019 International Fashion Showcase. Turahirwa, on the other hand, has for several editions attended Tanzania’s Swahili Fashion Week and Uganda’s Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards.