Designs Inspired by African Culture and Nature
Pius Sawa Murefu
Kampala, Uganda – Oct 2007
A Ugandan student of fashion and design has come up with a unique approach to creating outfits.
Adio Irine Mildred Opio is just in her first year at Tina International School of Beauty in Kampala however, she thinks she has learnt enough to be able to transform the fashion industry in the country. She Hails from the West Nile region of Uganda, an area that is still comparatively underdeveloped as a result of being cut off from other regions due to twenty years of armed conflict in Northern Uganda.
Code named “Revolution Outfit”, Adio is showcasing her brand of design by creating clothes incorporating leaves, skins, hides, sisal and locally manufactured fabrics.
“It is high time we got back to where we came from,” she says. Her first target is to show the younger generation what their ancestors used to wear. Secondly she wants to cut down on the costs of wedding materials and other fashion related items. “Instead of people spending millions of shillings hiring wedding gowns from Kampala (capital City of Uganda) we can utilise local materials and skills thereby achieving savings that can be invested elsewhere.”
She says many people in her locallity have heard about fashion shows and modelling but they have never seen these things taking place in real life. At the end of August this year Adio organised the first fashion show of its kind in Arua town, the capital of West Nile region.
She showcased her talent and dream of promoting traditional wear by presenting designs incorporating leaves, skins, sisal and Mufunga; a locally made attire used by the Alur and Lugbara ethnic groups. In order to keep things dignified Adio made sure that her models did not expose any sensitive body parts. The aim of this was to underscore traditional values about appropriate ways of deportment.
“A well dressed person will be viewed in a positive light, but an inappropriately dressed person will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. I am trying to balance morality and culture through my revolution,” she says.
Adio is proprietor of ‘Classic Boutique’ situated at the heart of Arua town from where she is realizing her dreams. Her income is not much but she believes money is just a component towards achieving one’s ambitions. She advices that modelling is not a waste of time or money, but a career like any other that should be encouraged. Being a former model, Adio is up in arms to challenge those who ape Western fashions and modelling practices which she says do not represent our culture.