Angelo Igitego

@angeloigitegocollection // Rwanda

Angelo Igitego Collection is an ethical fashion company that makes bow ties by hand in Rwanda. It was started by two friends Angelo and Anthony. Angelo was born in Rwanda during the height of the genocide and grew up amongst the poor in a country that was too busy repairing the damage to be able to provide for the needs of the younger generation. The resulting gaps in education, financial literacy, and jobs are major barriers preventing many of his generation from climbing out of poverty. As a result, he’s passionate about creating jobs and promoting access to opportunity for others who are disenfranchised in his community.

This history is what motivated us to start Angelo Igitego Collection. We are working to create a business that can provide jobs, community, and a sense of purpose for this so-called “lost generation”, as well as refugee women in the local community of Kigali, Rwanda. We have a team of 3 women – Mariam (master tailor), Carine, and Sada (apprentices).

“Our objective is to show the world the side of Rwanda that the media never shows you. Rwanda is remembered for its difficult past, but it is beautiful, rich, and full of energy.”

These ties are made with kitenge, a waxed-cotton batik fabric that is indigenous to East Africa. Kitenge is really popular in women’s clothes but is rarely worn by men. It can take months to complete a single print of kitenge!

To make it, templates made of wax are stamped onto the fabric, and then repeatedly dipped into different dyes to produce the intricate, multi-color patterns. The patterns on the fabric often have meaning. Some patterns are made to show your cultural background or social position, while others are just designed to look nice and express your personality.

Together we’re building a safe community – making ties, sharing meals, and learning new skills. We’re very keen to help the team learn how to budget, save, and prepare for longer-term needs, which is why we’re also providing health insurance and salaried wages using a bank account (something that is unheard of in the local economy).

We are seeing amazing changes in the lives of our tailors thanks to a growing market of consumers who share our values and are willing to pay a premium for products that are contributing to social good. We are excited to grow and do more to close the gap in living standards around the world.

angeloigitego.com

 

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