Beautiful is different, and different is beautiful. This is one of the philosophies with which Rwandan fashion brand Angaza is built. Just how different? Angaza upcycles non-biodegradable waste, such as vinyl advertising banners and jute rice bags into once-off fashion accessories. Each of their products is then lined with a fabric called Kitenge in East Africa or Ankarain in West Africa. Because of the nature of the upcycled materials used, no two of Angaza’s products are exactly the same.
Angaza – which means “to illuminate” in Swahili, is based in Kigali, Rwanda. It was founded in 2012 by Maria Mayanja and Monica Umwari after spending time with school pupils making upcycled art for World Environment Day. Today, with a growing team, Angaza continues to workshop environmental consciousness and upcycling in schools around Rwanda.
It was that experience that catalysed the idea for the two Environmental Engineering graduates of a social enterprise that combines green jobs with colour and creativity.
Angaza designs – from raw material to end product – reveal how a “slight shift of perspective can bring about the most unexpected results.” Their products are made “for people who see things in a different light: the bold lovers of colour who want to make the world a better place, and those who feel that convention is boring.”
With an online store and appearances at major international events such as the 84th INTERPOL General Assembly (2015), Angaza is certainly on the path towards bringing recycled high-end retail to global markets.