Matthew Rugamba is a contemporary African Fashion designer. He mostly blends African prints with the Western fashion. Moreover, he is the founder and creative director of the House of Tayo, a men’s clothing brand based in Kigali, Rwanda. Specifically, the name Tayo emanates from the word Matayo, a Swahili & Kinyarwanda version of Matthew.
When he started House of Tayo in 2011, Rugamba had no shred of experience in the fashion industry as he had only designed a few bow ties. However, after completing his undergraduate degree at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, Rugamba returned to Rwanda to grow his design company. Currently, the House of Tayo commands a strong sense of African heritage and iconography. Furthermore, the brand mostly utilizes African fabrics. Tayo has always believed that bow ties were going to be his way of telling the story of an African who is sophisticated and dignified.
Additionally, Matthew has had the privilege of designing for some of the big names in the music and sports sector. For instance, personalities such as Burna Boy, Odell Beckham Junior and Junior Nyongo (Lupita Nyongo’s brother) have rocked his designs. Therefore, below, we have highlighted some of Matthew Rugamba’s trademark designs. We have also mentioned how he promotes gender empowerment and equality in Rwanda.
Trademarks: African Print Ties, Bowties and Infinity Scarves
Matthew Rugamba started his design work with African print bow ties. Indeed, he was able to utilize Tumblr during the initial stages of his fashion profession. As a result, the site provided him with a platform for showcasing his works to the entire globe. Moreover, immediately after establishing a brand from African Print bowties, he proceeded into designing African print ties and infinity scarfs. Therefore, the African Print bowties, ties and infinity scarves are his trademark designs.
Furthermore, Creative Director Matthew Rugamba is the designer behind the Kojjo shirt. Specifically, it is an African Design Chinese Collar shirt. The shirt comes in a variety of colors, designs and fabric texture.
Special Sankara Collection Suit
Moreover, the Special Sankara Collection suit is a trademark design for Matthew Rugamba’s 2018 collection. The suit resembles the famous style of President Kenneth Kaunda, the founding father of Zambia. Specifically, the special Sankara suit has blended plain and print fabrics. Additionally, it entails a belt and borrows some of the elements of military ceremonial jackets.
Equality at the House of Tayo
Lastly, Matthew promotes gender empowerment and equality in the workplace. For instance, he has employed over 35 women as permanent tailors at the House of Tayo Collections. Therefore, he is pioneering and creating income for women in Rwanda.