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Wavamunno: Born into business, fashion

Gloria Wavamunno is a fashion designer and brain behind Kampala Fashion Week. She spoke to Agnes E Nantaba about her evolved business mind in the fashion industry.

Gloria wava

As a young girl, Gloria Wavamunno was very shy and that drew her closer to her mother. It partly explains why she also developed a keen interest in fashion and design following in her mother’s footsteps. Her mother owns MOWA fashions. This, in turn, partly justifies her evolved business mind. Her father is renowned Ugandan business mogul Gordon Wavamunno of Wava Group of companies.

“I always saw and merged colours from a fashion perspective following my passion and mother noticed it and rendered the necessary support,” said Wavamunno. No doubt, Wavamunno was pampered with all the love being a middle child following a brother and sister with another sibling after her.

Perhaps being raised in a family where children played indoors as brothers and sisters explains her introverted character.

Coming from a wealthy family, Wavamunno was privileged to attend the Kampala International School Uganda and later graduating with a degree in fashion, design and marketing business from a University in London, UK.

After working with various retail stores as a stylist and make-up artiste in the UK, she returned to Uganda in 2009 and held her first fashion show at home as part of her graduation party. “Many people do graduation parties but I chose a fashion show for people to know that I was starting out to be a designer,” she says.

She contacted the head of African Fashion International Group that hosts African Fashion Week and gained recognition after showcasing on such a big platform.

Wavamunno says the fashion week ignited something that prompted her to translate the idea back home in Kampala. The idea was to have a platform in Uganda with a fashion show that translates into business. She had the first edition of Kampala Fashion Week in 2014. She also started Uganda Fashion Council to promote all aspects of art which come into fashion and as an organisation with people of vast knowledge in the fashion industry to move the industry further. She runs Gloria Wavamunno Fashion Studio as a factory.

Wavamunno says the fashion industry requires a multi-dimensional personality; one must understand designing, producing, marketing, sourcing and yet each department has so much detail attached to it. She says many fashion designers in Uganda don’t understand this structure.

“Uganda’s fashion industry is still young and there are a lot of structures that need to be created for designers including the education system that has got to inculcate a culture of business,” she says.


Gloria Wavamunno’s lite side

Any three things we don’t know about you?

Eccentric, optimistic, and hardworking; these have kept me going.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

It’s knowing who you are and being happy with it. While people may have assumptions of who you are, care not and move on.

What is your greatest fear?

Not even death because it is part of life. However when I was younger, my fear was not being able to live up to my potential but I have since overcome it.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

My perfectionism can sometimes get into my way of accepting that something is good. I tend to focus more on the mistakes and faults which takes away good moments. Sometimes I am too critical on myself.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

I don’t accept people who do things and have excuses based on their backgrounds. Bad behavior can happen but it is best to own it than shift the blame to something else.

Which living person do you most admire?

My mother is a very strong human being and has been a good example of what a woman can and should be; a makes a good home, good wife and mother. I am what I am because of her.

What is your greatest extravagance?

The detail I put into presents for other people adds up into costs. For myself, I buy a lot of books.

What is your current state of mind?

Peaceful even after a lot of things happening, I am happy with everything about and around me.

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