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A New Web Series Follows Rwandan Fashion Designer Matthew Rugamba & His 'House Of Tayo'

The Africa Channel's new web series follows Rwandan fashion designer Matthew Rugamba and his House Of Tayo menswear label.


All images via The Africa Channel

House Of Tayo: Journey Of A Rwandan Designer is a forthcoming reality web series presented by The Africa Channel that offers a behind-the-scenes look into the daily routine of rising fashion designer and entrepreneur Matthew Rugamba. Viewers will be introduced to Rugamba and his bespoke menswear label, House Of Tayo, over the course of thirteen episodes as he scouts the streets of Kigali in search of fabric and inspiration for his new line of accessories.

The most recent collection from Rugamba's label features a vibrant range of skinny neckties and bowties the twenty-five year old designer says are equally inspired by the Motown era, traditional British tailoring and the dapper style of Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba. "In my studies I read about Pan-Africanism,” Rugamba said in a recent interview.  “And I read about Patrice Lumumba, and [he] always wore bow ties. I’ve always liked bow ties. I just felt they are a symbol of dignity. You think about important dinners, black tie affairs, professors. It’s a small piece of clothing, but there is a lot attached to it."

House of Tayo is set to premiere July 31st on The Africa Channel website with new episodes every Friday and Sunday. Watch a short preview trailer for the forthcoming series below. Keep up with the House Of Tayo  on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.

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Photo by Chris Schwagga, courtesy of Matthew Rugamba.

Style Dimension: Matthew Rugamba Is the Designer Building a Dynamic Fashion Sector in Rwanda

We touch base with the Rwandan designer on the responsibility designers have to shape a better industry for the future of African fashion.

Style Dimension is OkayAfrica's seven-part series highlighting emerging designers from Africa and its diaspora. Along with giving you a glimpse of each designer's stunning work, this series is an introduction into their creative realm. In the fourth edition of the series, meet Rwandan designer Matthew Rugamba.

Matthew Rugamba is the founder and creative director of House of Tayo—Rwandan-based fashion label that using uniform and classic silhouettes to reflect on the past as a way to shape the present.

Rugamba began to tune more into his identity as an African after leaving home and living between cities like London, Swaziland and Kenya. "It's not that I ever had any doubts regarding my heritage, but it was the first time I've had been consistently called upon to represent my home; to speak for not only my country but my continent on any related issue. As a result, my appreciation for my culture and history became something that I became particularly keen on sharing. One of the most powerful ways I thought I could do this was through clothing. I wanted to capture that African style and elegance that you could spot from a mile away and that's how I came up with my first pieces—the unisex snood and bowtie combo." It was through that he realized design could be a tool for telling stories about his home.

Beyond fashion, Rugamba is using his efforts to empower the locals in his community. As one of five founding members, Mathew is apart of Collective RW—a local Rwandan fashion collective aiming to use their experiences and brands as a way to collaborate with industry experts to support and promote a dynamic creative sector in Rwanda. In turn Collective RW works to generate new jobs and empower opportunity-driven youth and underserved communities. By growing his brand, he intends to create spaces for others. Since the launch of his label in 2011, he's been featured in a number of major publications from Forbes to Huffington Post; and has participated in African Fashion Week in London as well as organized his own fashion week presentation in Rwanda.

I spoke with Matthew Rugamba about the importance of nurturing African talent and the responsibility designers have to shape a better industry for the future of African fashion.

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5 African Artists We Would Nominate for an Ubuntu Award

The Ubuntu Award shortlist goes up July 18th. Make sure and go vote for the person who best exemplifies the values of ubuntu.

Sponsored post from The Africa Channel

The Ubuntu Award shortlist goes up today, July 18th. Make sure to go vote for the person who best exemplifies the values of ubuntu.

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Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

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