Kyoumukama Faith speaks to Khavugwe Khavugwe, one of the few demi-couture fashion designers in Kenya
Fashion for dummies 101; what’s demi-couture?
Demi-couture simply means half-couture. Or if you want a longer meaning, it’s half-custom-made women’s clothing.
Ah. Talk to us about your brand.
My brand is called Khavugwe Demi Couture. It has been in the market for more than seven years. I am a ready-to-wear and bridal couture designer. My products are mostly termed as timeless and creative.
While most of the themes in my outfits are per what the clients request, I always add my own touch to it. It can be through an accessory, beading, control of fullness, style lines and trimmings. I’m always guided by the fashion principles when it comes to designing.
Are you a self-taught designer?
No. I studied fashion and design for three years at the Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts. Fashion has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I started sketching at a young age.
What are your thoughts on the local fashion industry?
It is definitely coming up, especially with the young generation and the influence of technology wrapped together. Things are looking up and designers are pushing boundaries. There is healthy competition and creativity in the market,which is good for growth.
What do you splurge on the most?
I splurge a lot on shoes and statement handbags. A shoe and a handbag say a lot about a lady. So, I tend to spend more on quality when it comes to these two fashion items.
Is there a specific fashion era that speaks to you as a designer?
That would be the 20s.Women started showing more skin as the hemline gradually rose. It was called the Flapper Era. Women rocked flapper dresses and accessorised with shoes with ankle straps and sequins and cloche hats. The guys reserved their formal wear for special occasions and wore shorter suit jackets for casual occasions.
Who is your all-time favourite female fashion designer?
Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF).She came up with the iconic wrap dress in 1972 and it’s still trending to date. It is versatile, easy to wear, pack and style. The dress revolutionised the fashion world.
What fashion philosophy do you live by?
Fashion repeats itself, so don’t be afraid to create backwards in trend. That’s my own Khavugwe philosophy.
Which trends are you currently loving?
I’m currently crushing on the off-shoulders big bell-like sleeves. I find them fascinating.
What are the five things you always carry in your handbag
Tape measure, charger, phone, money and tissue.