Local Designers Upbeat As Arsenal Stars Don ‘Made in Rwanda’ Designs

They could be preparing to get back on the pitch next week but Arsenal superstars took time off their busy schedule to participate in a Visit Rwanda challenge to showcase designs made by Rwandan designers grouped under the ‘CollectiveRw’.

The stars led by forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, right back Hector Bellerin and Reiss Nelson who also plays as a forward were challenged by Sarah Legrand from fashion house K’tsobe, Moses Turahirwa of Moshions and Pierra Ntayombya, the CEO of Haute Baso, to pick pieces and make a Rwandan inspired look.

A video shared by the English first-tier club on social media shows the players picking their styles while cracking jokes and engaging in a photoshoot.

“The jawline is coming out, the jawline,” jokes Nelson, “it is coming, it is coming out, wait,” adds the Spanish defender, “another one, another one”, says the Gabonese striker Aubameyang, who is on camera, shooting the ‘Rwandan fashion challenge’.

The presenter Emmanuel Ruhumuliza from ‘Visit Rwanda’ says that the aim was to see who could pull off the Rwandan ‘swag’ better than others. The players had different pieces from Rwanda to pick from -from bomber jackets to shirts, tops, knitwear and so on and so forth.

“I like these jackets, these are really nice,” says Bellerin, “the colours are very neutral and nice” adds Nelson who observes that you can wear the designs everywhere, while Bellerin fell in love with the beads and Aubameyang, the white shirt. The trio engaged in a photo shoot and ended up all being winners.

According to the Visit Rwanda website, Rwanda’s fashion scene shares the country’s beauty and culture with the world.

“It is a platform for talented designers to celebrate tradition and modernity. Their styles and designs mark Rwanda’s infinite passion for all-things-elegant and the use of symbolic beadwork and patterns preserves a rich national heritage,” says the website.

The initiative was organised to celebrate the young creatives who are putting Made in Rwanda fashion on the map.

“Visit Rwanda and Arsenal teamed up with Collective Rw to put Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin and Reiss Nelson to the test and challenge them to create their own looks from a range of apparel and accessories produced by Haute Baso, House of Tayo, Inzuki Designs, K’tsobe, Moshions, Rwanda Clothing, Uzi Collections and more,” a statement from the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) -ran Visit Rwanda initiative reads

Matthew Rugamba, the founder of House of Tayo, one of the established local designer houses, said that participating in the initiative and having Arsenal stars don their designs is a major boost for the local fashion industry.

“It is great to have our designs appear on such a big platform. ‘Visit Rwanda’ is a huge springboard for a lot more from Rwanda. Through partnerships like this, Visit Rwanda is looking to export more from the country and this is a chance for all of us to take advantage of what this platform has to offer,” Rugamba said.

Though an ardent Manchester United fan, Rugamba said that initiatives like Visit Rwanda and partnerships with clubs like Arsenal and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) present an opportunity for local creatives to tap into the European market once the New Coronavirus pandemic subsides.

Linda Mukangoga, the Founder of Haute Baso also said that the partnership with Visit Rwanda and Arsenal is an opportunity for local designers to take their work on the global stage.

“For Haute Baso the opportunity to collaborate with Visit Rwanda to share our interpretation of #MadeInRwanda on a global stage is invaluable,”

“As a member of CollectiveRw, it also exemplifies the potential creative collaborations can unlock while highlighting synergies between different industries – in this case sports, fashion and travel,” Mukangonga says.

RDB, through the Rwanda Convention Bureau, became Arsenal’s first official sleeve partner in May 2018 as part of Rwanda’s drive to become a leading global tourist destination.

The 3-year deal which made ‘Visit Rwanda’ Arsenal’s official Tourism Partner has seen a couple pf Arsenal stars and legends come to Rwanda to promote tourism as well as many other activities that have given Rwanda visibility abroad.




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