Tell us about the name Zahabu?
Like the saying “Izina n’iryo muntu” I wanted to give value to my creations and the people who wear them.I wanted my brand name to express what it actually is and what it feels like, a name that can be easily spoken and understood by anyone. And “ZAHABU” (which means Gold) was just perfect.
When did you realize you wanted to become a Fashion designer?
I used to design my own clothes, I could do sketches and have a tailor sew a piece for me. Then other people started coming to me, friends wanted me to do pieces for them as well! At that time, I had a shop that sold other people’s clothes but from then I knew it was time to debut my own!
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from everything I see, people, nature, and occasions I go to.
How long does it take you to construct a piece?
2-3 days.. I do a sketch, find a suitable fabric to use then I present it to my tailors who are very talented and hard working then on day 4, the piece is ready and on display in my shop.
Do you keep with the trends or just do your own thing?
Most definitely but I still have to add a FZ touch.
How would you define your personal style?
Two words, Smart and Classy.
Does your work reflect your personal style?
Definitely, my work reflects what I like but not entirely, I also keep in mind what other people like and try my best to satisfy either one!
What are some of your fashion goals?
Most of my customers are either Rwandan diasporas or not Rwandans at all. My goal is to have more Rwandans get acquainted with this industry and wear local designer clothes!
How would you define the Fashion industry in Rwanda?
I would say Rwanda is still a virgin fashion wise, this industry is open to everyone who’s about Art and Fashion. But there’s hope, up and coming designers are rising and there’s too much talent that’s yet to be discovered.
Tell me about your first collection, the colored pants that had everyone buzzing.
Hehe, well… that was exactly the point, I wanted people to pay attention to the collection, a way of communicating with the people. Those were for the fashionistas, those people that abandoned their comfort zone.
Where can readers buy your clothes?
Francis Zahabu/Guess Who- Remera, Kisimenti
L, L, L and Be Fashionable!