haute baso: Celebrating the Heritage of Rwandan Artisanship

By Staff | Women
Posted May 1, 2016

Fashion may not be the first thing people think about when they think of Rwanda, but the ‘land of a thousand hills’ is working to put its emerging fashion scene, complete with Kigali Fashion Week, on the map. Kigali-based fashion, accessory and interior brand haute baso first grabbed our attention through their instagram feed and then we knew it was love when we read their mission

The clothing, accessories and jewelry offered by  haute base are based on the heritage of Rwandan artisanship, often with showing the the influence of Imigongo. Imigongo is a traditional Rwandan art form which consists of stunning black and white (sometimes red, grey and other colors are used as well), geometrical and spiral paintings made out of dried cow dung. Translated into fashion, the color palette and lines feel clean and modern. The mission is just as fresh: haute baso is a female-owned, ethical fashion brand that works with over 165 artisans through-out Rwanda who are fairly paid for each HB design they bring to life.

The social enterprise focuses on investing in young women through vocational training and mentoring, employment and fostering entrepreneurship while offering fair wages. This supports the belief that “to empower a woman is to empower her community,” an essential, optimistic outlook in a country still recovering from social and economic tragedy resulting from the ethnic strife that led to genocide over two decades ago.

Created in 2014, haute baso is Candy Basomingera and Linda Mukangoga who, believing two heads are better than one, merged their two respective brands (Baso and Haute Rwanda). Products can be purchased in their shop in Kigali, KG 9 Avenue, #39 or online with global shipping.

Want to learn more? haute baso advisor Laurie DeJong will be joining an evening of conversation on sustainability with seven other esteemed fashion brands at the EcoSessions: Fashion x Africa mini-conference on May 2 from 7-10 pm at FIT’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. Admission is free and open to all, register here. #fashionxAfrica

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