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About The Designers

Spotlight – Kona

Janet Mugume

Bhavya Kalsi. Partner and Co-Founder of Kona – cool, fun and whimsical goodies. Made in Uganda. Available in store.

 

What were you like in high school?

Wild.

 

What is your definition of bold?

When you can be “you” without fear // UNAPOLOGETIC //.

 

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Go–getter.

 

What would your superpower be?

Mommy powers.

 

Where is your “happy" place?

With my kids, or in my studio designing.

 

What are the questions that you don’t like to answer?

‘How do you find the time?’

 

Without saying your age, tell us something from your childhood that you remember that a younger person wouldn't understand.

Boy bands.

 

Which words or phrases do you overuse?

‘Dude’.

 

Who inspires you to be better?

My children - I want them to know no dream is too small, and to never give up.

 

What compliment do you receive most often?

These days it's about the journey of Kona.

 

What is your hidden talent?

I can cook with whatever is available, you won’t starve with me around. Lol.

 

What is your star sign?

Cancer.

 

What TV show do you most identify with?

Madam Secretary.

 

What is your favorite word in your native language, and what does it mean?

‘Kismat’ it means ‘Destiny’ in Hindi, my native language.

 

What is one of your guilty pleasures?

Binge watching TV.

 

What are you looking forward to?

Kona becoming a household name.

 

Describe your brand in one word.

Quirky Ugandan.

 

Tell us about your background, how & when did you decide to start your entrepreneurial journey?

I was an art director in advertising, so I always had a flair for being creative, playing with patterns, colors etc. When I became a mommy, I knew I had to be my own boss because if I didn’t channel my creative energy, I’d go mad.  So, Kona was born the same year that I became a mother of two.

 

How would you describe your overall style?

Quirky and bold.

 

Out of all your collections, which has been your favorite to design?

My horn jewelry, because I think we were able to create the unexpected out of it.

 

Are there any elements that you carry through all your designs?

Versatility and functional elements.

 

What is your least favorite part of being self-employed?

You can’t blame your boss for working long hours.

 

Give us a little hint! What should we expect from you at Bold this season?

Bigger and Bolder – can’t say anymore.

 

What are you currently working on?

New bags and making sure our UNAPOLOGETIC collection is in stores.

 

What are your current favorite fashion trends?

The Circle Bag - I feel very excited that we were ahead of the trend, we made our first circle bag three years ago.

 

How do you stay up-to-date with what is trending?

I follow fashion weeks around the world very closely.

 

What is a typical workday like for you?

This is a passion project, so mornings are kept for my day job. Post lunch, I work on Kona designing, production and book keeping.

 

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Launching a 360 line from clothes to accessories at the 2016 Kampala Fashion Week.

 

How do you keep your team motivated?

We’re in it together. So every launch and every success story is a new piece of motivation for the team.

 

How did people initially respond to your work? And how do they respond to it now?

I have to say, everyone's been very supportive and receptive from the beginning. We are now considered to be an up-coming, homegrown, Ugandan brand.

 

If you could collaborate with any African fashion designer, who would it be? And why?

Maki Oh. We have a similar ethos, a strong sense of identity and they too love to challenge beauty norms!

 

Kona necklace, cuff, bag and skirt – available in store.

Spotlight – Solome Katongole

Janet Mugume

 

Solome Katongole. Co-founder and Creative Director of Solome Katongole – a Ugandan fusion of culture, fabrics and lifestyle. Available at Bold Kampala.

 

What were you like in high school?

A very shy and quiet tomboy.

 

What is your definition of bold?

To me, bold is power, daring, audacious and striking.

 

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Zest.

 

Where is your “happy" place?

My family is my happy place, I have pure joy when I’m around them.

 

What is your hidden talent?

I don’t do it often, but I’m a good cook.

 

What is your favorite word in your native language, and what does it mean?

‘Bambi’ – It doesn’t have a specific meaning, but can be used in different situations. It can be sweet, consoling, sarcastic, or humorous. I have limited vocabulary in Luganda, but can always count on responding with ‘Bambi’.

 

Describe your brand in one word

Vivid.

 

How would you describe your overall style?

Feminine and conservative

 

Out of all your collections, which has been your favorite to design?

The Pumpkin Collection – I had just finished my Fashion Design degree, with a fresh and clear vision. I was very proud of myself. I loved every step, from concept to finishing.

 

Are there any elements that you carry through all your designs?

Yes, there’s a culture-conscious concept with all my designs. Not necessarily through fabric but also through silhouettes.

 

What is your least favorite part of being self-employed?

Not having enough time to work on every project.

 

How do you stay up-to-date with what is trending?

I actually don’t follow trends. I design whatever comes to mind. If it happens to fall within the trends then, awesome!

 

Dress, coming soon to Bold Kampala.


 

Spotlight: OP Clothing

Janet Mugume

Beki Alyawo. Director of OP Clothing, elegant African print clothing and accessories. Made in Uganda. Available at Bold Kampala.   

 

What is your definition of bold?

Being comfortable in your skin, your body, whatever you’re dressed in.

 

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Assertive.

 

Where is your happy place?

Travelling - long journeys.

 

What are you looking forward to?

More good days with Bold in Africa. More international runways. I feel it. I see it coming.

 

What would your super power be?

Feeding the poor - like God did with the Egyptians.

 

What were you like in high school?

I always found a way around things.

 

Define your brand in one word.

Simple.

 

Where did you start your entrepreneurial journey?

It started way back in my childhood, I would sell my candy for a few cents. In 2015, I joined OP Clothing, as the Public Relations manager. In 2016, I decided to partner with Patricia Otoa – the OP Clothing Founder - and bought the franchise in Uganda, as she concentrates on Europe. 

 

Describe your overall style.

Vintage.

 

Out of all your collections, which has been your favorite to design?

Our 2016 Nairobi Fashion Week collection - very bright, bubbly and practical.

 

Are there any elements that you carry through all your designs?

Simplicity and comfort, every day of the week.

 

What is your typical day like?

6:30am, wake-up. Prayer. I get dressed – this takes an hour, minimum. I check-in at my two major stores to supervise progress, then follow up on my meetings, usually scheduled from 11:00am. My day typically ends at 8.00pm.

 

Dress, available at Bold Kampala.

Spotlight: Simma Africa

Janet Mugume

Natasha Simma. Founder and Creative Director of Simma Africa – an African fashion brand, made for all occasions. Made in Uganda. Available at Bold.

 

What would your superpower be?

Invisibility. 

 

Who inspires you to be better?

My mother.

 

What is your star sign?

Virgo.

 

What is your favorite word in your native language, and what does it mean?

Rukundo. It means "Love".

 

What is one of your guilty pleasures?

Fabric shopping.

 

What are you looking forward to?

Showcasing at New York Fashion Week, someday. Soon.

 

Describe your brand in one word.

Cosmopolitan.

 

Out of all your collections, which has been your favorite to design?

My "Black Pearl" SS16 collection. It was fun and elegant.

 

Give us a little hint! What should we expect from you at bold this season?

Cut-outs and funky prints.

 

What are your current favorite fashion trends?

Chokers, velvet, beads, lace, metallic - they complement most outfits.

 

What is a typical workday like for you?

My day starts off in my workshop, there is always an order to make and clothing to finish. Then I deliver finished pieces to my retailer partners end my day at my home shop.

 

How do you keep your team motivated?

I always give my team new designs to work and give rewards to whoever executes my design best.

 

Cut-out shirt, available in store.

Spotlight: Inzuki Designs

Janet Mugume

Teta Isibo. Founder and creative director of Inzuki Designs, where traditional craft meets contemporary design - Jewelry, accessories, interior decor. African inspired. Globally loved. Made in Rwanda. Available at Bold.

 

What is your definition of bold?

Daring to be unconventional, unabashedly. Being your authentic self.

 

What would your superpower be?

Invisibility.

 

Where is your “happy" place?

Travelling somewhere I’ve never been before. Sundays with family. Anywhere my nieces are!

 

Without saying your age, tell us something from your childhood that you remember that a younger person wouldn't understand.

Good Music :).

 

Who inspires you to be better?

My president and my late grandparents.

 

What is your hidden talent?

A photographic memory, of sorts. Sadly, it’s mostly for useless information.

 

Describe your brand in one word

Colorful.

 

Out of all your collections, which has been your favorite to design?

Our latest collection, which we launched at collectiverw fashion week last October. It introduced new elements of our work - beaded accessories, an intrinsic part of our identity. We took things a notch higher this time by creating clothes with the same signature beaded details. It was different, and unexpected, and embodied the ever-evolving nature of our brand.

 

What is your least favorite part of being self-employed?

When I am unsure about a decision and there’s no one higher in management who can just make it for me. So, I have to resort to flipping a coin instead. Kidding!

 

What are your current favorite fashion trends?

Bell sleeves - big statement sleeves. Chokers - particularly Inzuki ones. Anything off-shoulder, (slightly) ripped denim and white sneakers. I am a reformed color junkie doing a lot of all-black and monochrome minimalist looks.

 

How do you stay up-to-date with what is trending?

Pinterest for fashion, and my teenage siblings for anything pop culture.

 

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Starting my business. Everything I’ve achieved with Inzuki has been a sequence of events, a chain reaction that started with me actually launching my business! I think getting started is actually the hardest part - at least it was for me. 

Inzuki Designs Choker, available in store. 

Spotlight: Embody Accessories

Janet Mugume

Evlyn Kyegombe. Founder and Creative Director of Embody Accessories, a Kenyan-based accessories brand – unique, quirky and wearable, hand-made original and copyrighted designs. Eco-Fashion. Made in Kenya. Available in store.

 

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Observant.

 

Where is your happy" place?

·      My daughter’s excitement at various things, some truly simple and often ignored by us more 'seasoned' humans.

·      Working on Embody Accessories.

·      Singing.

 

Without saying your age, tell us something from your childhood that you remember that a younger person wouldn't understand.

Tapes - listening to music on them and recording songs composed by me. I still have many of my tapes from waaaay baaaack on my bookshelf. I occasionally listen to them.

 

Who inspires you to be better?

My mother and my daughter.

 

What is one of your guilty pleasures?

Thai massages.

 

What are you looking forward to?

Embody Accessories' continued growth

 

Describe your brand in one word.

Quirky.

 

Tell us about your background, how & when did you decide to start your entrepreneurial journey?

From designing for myself, to then discovering that people actually liked what I was doing and were willing to spend their hard earned money on an Embody design. To be honest, with each new sale I am still genuinely moved!

 

How would you describe your overall style?

Simple. Architectural. Engineered geometry. Yet somehow, still celebrating that quirky twist.

 

Are there any elements that you carry through all your designs?

Yes - certainly! Form, structure, geometry but always with a quirky twist.

 

What is your least favorite part of being self-employed?

The never-ending mental juggling. As an employee one can be more wholly focused on their primary role without having to embrace, and own, the struggles of another role or department. As an entrepreneur it is ALL yours to embrace and it can get exhausting. That said, this is what keeps it extremely exciting, fresh, challenging and oh so rewarding!

 

How do you stay up-to-date with what is trending?

For the most part - bloggers, YouTubers and new music videos.

 

Rings, available at Bold