Pierra Ntayombya, the creative director of Haute Baso, has created a look using wool and upcycled mosquito nets, embellished with upcycled beads from traditional accessories such as necklaces and bracelets, and handmade beads from Ugandan jewellery maker Ihato. The beads are made from recycled paper, which is then cut into triangular shapes, rolled and glued, and finished with varnish. The top is made from a locally sourced mosquito net, naturally dyed grey using fermented cassava. Conventional insecticide treated mosquito nets last between 6 to 12 months therefore thousands of mosquito nets are disposed of annually to protect people from Malaria.
Haute Baso is an ethical fashion brand established in February 2014 by two young Rwandan designers. Linda Mukangoga, one of the founders, had a background working in product development in collaboration with traditional female artisan cooperatives to produce handicrafts for the international market. Having worked on lines that were carried by international retail brands like Anthropologie, Mukangoga recognised the economic and social potential “Made in Rwanda” creates. The training and employment opportunities paired with a transparent value chain are a vital part of their ethos. The Haute Baso aesthetic is underpinned by Rwanda’s vibrant culture and history – placing pattern on pattern, with clashing colours and bold stripes, fine embroidery and layers of lace. Pierra Ntayombya now serves as the CEO as the brand grows into new markets.
Ihato translates to ‘internal determination and resilience’ and was the name chosen by Ugandan sisters Sandra and Sohia Muhwezi for their brainchild Ihato, a platform that showcases the talent and craftsmanship of East Africa. Using their natural surroundings and tribal traditions as inspiration, the Ihato craftsmen create jewellery pieces and fashion accessories using locally sourced materials, from sawdust to sand, recycled glass to clay mixed with cowhorn beads, Ashanti blackbeads, hornbeads and ostrich egg shell.