I first encountered Haute Baso at Kampala Fashion week where I remember gawking at their jackets as the models walked down the runway. In the few minutes that they showcased their collection, they had made a very strong impression on me. I remember sitting next to Angela and whispering “they are good!”
Almost a year later, and I found my way to their store in Kigali, Rwanda. I remember walking in and feeling a little dazzled by what met my eye. Countless options of jackets, dresses and skirts all with very distinct prints, delicate and painfully put together jewelry and unforgettable home décor pieces.
How did this brand come about you ask? Linda Mukangoga who had been working with Gahaya Links and Candy Basomingera who had a clothes line called Baso recognised their mutual love for fashion and Haute Baso was born. Starting out with a handful of artisans and an investment of $2000 of their own money, they have since multiplied and are empowering young women and artisans making sure to give them good pay for their work. Imaginably their business model has a number of moving parts, but they seem to handle it extremely well.
Spending time with them brought me to a number of conclusions about their work and their success so far. They are Inspiring. They are relentless in achieving their goals. And they are unapologetically themselves with the process it takes to get their work out. What other way could you describe the clarity with which their brand is recognized or the name they have created for themselves in their market?
As I rummaged through the options in the store, I was playing it safe as usual. My thought process was “dim the prints down with something plain.”Darina, an intern with Haute Baso must have read my mind and encouraged me not to shy away from pairing different prints together. So I went ahead and walked through the store picking up the different pieces I loved that could work together, and the result as you can see was great!
Haute Baso’s designs are very clean. I surprise myself with thinking “clean” considering the fact that many of their pieces are in bright bold colours. The term clean is normally tied back to an inclusion of the colour white. I think it comes down to the fact that they do not compromise on quality. The play of prints on their clothes and even in their jewelry is something that stands out to me as geometric and structured. Could this be because some of their earlier work was made as an imitation of Imigongo whose designs are very geometrical? Whatever it is calls out to the neat freak in me, and I like it!
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” – Marc Anthony
Are there any designers whose work you’ve seen that’s amazing? Comment below and let us know and we will look them up 🙂
Dressed in Haute Baso pieces.