Art and Fashion at the Design Agenda

Art and Fashion at the Design Agenda


An unusual exhibition is taking place at the Design Agenda art gallery. A break from their usual art exhibitions, the gallery is hosting an exhibition that incorporates fashion and textile design. The exhibition which closes on 20th May 2005, has brought together two young designers one a fashion designer the other a textile designer.

By Emmanuel Bagwana
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First published: May 16, 2005


Carol Birungi is a twenty three year old finalist at the Makerere University School of Fine Art and is a textile designer though she also does some fashion design. Her theme for the Design Agenda exhibition is 'True African Culture.' The collection was inspired by the interior of an African homestead and this can be seen on her prints. Carol has been doing textile design since she was in high school where she excelled in it and therefore decided to pursue it at university level.


Carol is trying to bring what is lacking on the local textile industry, which is why instead of the usual plaids and stripes, you will find her using motifs of an African homestead. Carol also makes clothes for both men and women from some of her fabrics targeting those in the early twenties and mid-forty age groups. These range from eveningwear and office wear to casual wear. Another quality that her clothes possess is the ability to be transformed. One of her pieces can be worn to a more casual party and also to a formal dinner depending on how you combine the accessories that come with the dress.

When creating her fabrics, carol chooses 'African' colours and their tints to create harmony in the fabric an example being navy blue, which she combines with a lighter version of blue. Some of the 'African' colours Carol has used in her collection include brown which stands for the soil and is dominant through out her collection, blue for the sky and yellow for the sunlight. She uses methods like screen printing, stamping, dubbing, tie and dye, cracking and also some embroidery and patchwork using fabrics like linen, cotton and some wool. Apart from textiles, Carol also does some wall hangings that portray different aspects of African culture from the Ankole lifestyle to colonization.


Samples from 'True African Culture.'

        

     

Feedback has been great, as the collection even impressed her lecturers and even Elly Tumwiine, one of Uganda's renowned designers and artists.

Carol would like to work for a major company as an in-house fabric designer after her university.

Dickie Bikwasizehi is the brainchild behind the fashion label 'DICKIE.' The twenty four year old graduate of the Makerere University School of Fine Art has been working as a professional designer since 2003.

Dickie chose 'Beauty is Our Triumph' as the theme for his collection that he prepared specially for the design agenda exhibition. He uses various techniques like patchwork, appliqué, embroidery and printing to make innovative and African inspired clothing for both men and women. His target age group for this specific collection is anyone who is 18 years and above and he deals in evening, casual as well as beachwear. He uses fabrics like linen, cotton, bazarh and also some wool. He also uses acrylic yarns to weave scarves, bags, sweaters and skirts. He describes his style as usual but different and right now he is looking towards establishing a signature look that will mainly incorporate patchwork and embroidery. Apart from fashion design Dickie also does some illustration. For this exhibition he did some drawings that showed different kinds of traditional African wear.


Samples from 'Beauty is Our Triumph.'

Dickie has had a positive feedback from people that have attended the exhibition. Many people showed interest in what he was doing and he was also able to get some clients.

One thing that both designers agree on though is that there is still a long way to go for the local textile and fashion industry. People should learn to incorporate African fashion into their wardrobes. It is not only decent but also perfect for our weather and also very easy to care for. As for the controversy of people frowning at those that wear African wear to formal events like weddings or even parliament, they should wake up and discover the richness of the African culture.

Carol Birungi can be contacted at 078-461155. Her works can also be found at Wills Collections Shop No. ZL 26, on Wilson road.

Dickie Bikwasizehi can be contacted at 077-968882 or
email:bikwasizehid@yahoo.com.

By Emmanuel Bagwana
more from author >>
First published: May 16, 2005
Emmanuel Bagwana is a fashion designer and writer based in Kampala, Uganda specializing in women's design for all ages and occassions. He can be reached on 071 515400 or egwana23@yahoo.com. He also has a website :www.eguana.8m.com.