We had these traditional Ugandan costumes made by local seamstresses while volunteering there for the Quicken Trust in Kabubbu in Uganda. They did enjoy making these small outfits as they had never seen anything like them.
This is the traditional ceremonial dress for the Rwandese women of Uganda.
It consists of a wrapped skirt, a bodice and a sash draped over one shoulder. The fabrics used are light to create a flowing effect. Because of its fragility, it is worn on formal occasions like church services , wedding or funerals.
This is worn by the women from the western part of Uganda (Ankole region), including the Bahima and Batooro.
The Suuti consist of the Ekitambi ( a floor length wrapped skirt), the Eshuka (the sash) and the Omwenda ( a short dress).
The Bahima and Banyankole wrap the sash below the shoulders while the Batooro wear it on the shoulders next to the neck.
A Gomesi is also called a Busuuti. It is a colourful floor length dress. It is the traditional costume for the women in central Uganda including Baganda, Kiganda and Basoga amongst others.
The Gomesi started in the 1940s when it was adopted as the dress for the boarding schools in Gayaza. The catholic missionaries had asked a christian Goan called Gomes to create the dress, a loose garment that would cover the breasts.
The Gomesi is a floor-length, brightly colored cloth dress with a square neckline and short, puffed sleeves . The dress is tied with a sash placed below the waist over the hips. The Gomesi has two buttons on the left side of the neckline. Most Gomesi are made of silk, cotton, or linen fabric, with silk being the most expensive. A kikooyi or kanga is tied underneath the linen Gomesi to ensure that the fabric does not stick to the body. A well-made Gomesi can require up to six metres of cloth.
The Gomesi can be worn for any occasion, and in the rural areas it’s the form of daily dress. Residents of cities and urban areas tend to wear it on special occasions such as funerals, and weddings. The Gomesi is worn at wedding ceremonies during the introduction, also known as the Kwanjula. During the Kwanjula, all female members of the groom’s family are required to appear dressed in Gomesi.
Betty making a half size traditional costume called a gomesi for Gowns for Good, in Kabubbu, Uganda
Hadidja showing how to wear the traditional Ugandan costume the Gomesi, in Kabubbu
Racheal Kigozi’s modern evening dress using traditional fabric
Since I was a young girl, I enjoyed fashion.
I used to cut my mum’s clothes into small pieces and create outfits for me and my doll. If I loved the print or the colour of the cloth then I would make a small skirt and a scarf to match it. I loved scarves so much!
My mum used to look for her missing clothes in my room and she would surely find them there! :0)
At my high school, I did so well at economics that my mum wanted me to study it at university, but I refused…luckily my Dad decided that I should choose what I wanted to do. So i chose Arts which made me very happy.
I went to Margaret Trowell school of industrial and fine arts (Makerere University – Uganda) where I got my bachelor’s degree (BA).
I specialised in fashion and design which has been a great career for me.
I have been in the industry since 2011 and I have never looked back.
I took a workshop along Luwum street in the centre of Kampala in a building called MM Plaza. My shop is where I tailor and meet my clients and also show my designs.
I make casual wear, evening and wedding dresses.
I enjoy my job. The Lord has blessed me with the gift of fashion!