I discovered another amazing designer with a tailoring background. Owner of Ubwiza Fashion House, located in Kisementi, Malaika quit her full time job to focus on her love for making beautiful clothes. Malaika and I finally found some time to catch up last Tuesday after we both kept having to reschedule. I hope you’ve started off your week on a bright note.
In an industry where more people are wearing tailored outfits, she took 2 years to build Ubwiza Fashion House into a brand loved and worn so many today. Her determination and passion drove me to share with you her beautiful creations. What stood out most from our chat was this “Tailoring offers beauty and uniqueness which is what Ugandans need to understand.” Here’s our chat, with outfits we paired from her shop…enjoy 🙂
Karen: What sources most regularly spark creative inspiration for you?
Malaika: Inspiration for me comes from all sorts of sources. It’s everywhere! I’m also constantly seeking more knowledge by reading as much as I can in fashion, from online articles and magazines. Fashion for me is a form of expression. I also get several ideas from my husband who also owns a men’s boutique. He is extremely adventurous, which I love. (Blushes) I’m blessed that he understands my passion.
Karen: Who is your ideal Ubwiza client?
Someone adventurous that knows and appreciates their body, is confident and understands that you don’t have to spend so much money to look beautiful.
Karen: Where can we find you when you’re not at work?
I enjoy spending time with my family. My family is my oxygen
Karen: How have the experiences in working in the corporate world shaped what you’re doing now? Have they helped in any way?
I worked in an office for 5 years at a call center then was promoted to administrator and to HR as I tried to find my calling. Working at a desk for so long just opened up my eyes that I was meant to be doing what I love instead. It helped me realize I needed to start following my dreams…. when I finally did, there was no turning back.
Karen: What fabrics do you use? Can you share how you use them to make your outfits?
I use all kinds of fabrics…oh my Lord..All the fabric we have at our disposal so beautiful. So I usually go crazy and mix all kinds of fabrics and texture. Mostly, I work with kitenge to mix different prints on different fabrics. Tailoring offers beauty and uniqueness which is what Ugandans need to understand.
Karen: Can you share more about the pieces we will find at Ubwiza?
Let’s see….everything. I have and make everything. When you walk into my shop I’ve displayed several colourful pieces, though most of my clients come particularly to have unique designs made. I cater to everyone, from young that’s babies, to older women and men as long as they are ready to rock kitenge.
For adults, I make jump suits, short party dresses, long evening dresses, maxi skirts, crop tops, jackets, blazers, guy’s shirts and jewellery. For children I make dresses, tops, skirts and pants.
Karen: When did you first make your biggest sale? How did it feel?
I can’t forget my first client who was my sister-in-law, who then recommended me to someone else which then spiralled into other clients. My biggest sale was in the first year I opened where I got an order to design and make uniforms. Oh my Lord, it was challenging and exhausting but the best deal that happened to me.
Karen: What did u get out of starting your own shop? What kinds of things did you learn as a designer that you wouldn’t have otherwise learnt.
Quitting my full time job and starting my own shop, was the best decision I have ever made like I said, my dream came true. I got more time for myself & was able to spend time with my babies and get to do what I love! It wasn’t all easy though; sometimes it would get so tough that I’d fail to make rent. Most people don’t take this industry serious and have the perception that we are too expensive. They say they know cheaper people. So some opt for international brands instead… I hope that we will learn to respect and support the Ugandan fashion industry..
As a designer you constantly have to be giving and doing something new…something different. You can’t be comfortable with mediocrity
Karen: What’s your favourite accessory and material to work with?
I LOVE jewellery and head wraps! For material, I’d say jean on anything, because it’s timeless
I hope you feel inspired to do what you love,
Stay blessed and have a beautiful week,