"When he started House of Tayo, Rugamba had not a shred of experience in fashion or design, and only had a few bow ties lying around. What he did have was a blog post on Tumblr he posted in early 2012 about African fashion, which spoke about the way bow ties were going to be his way of telling the story of an Africa that is sophisticated and dignified."Read More
When I sat down to talk to Matthew Rugamba, the upcoming star of the Africa Channel series House of Tayo: Journey of a Rwandan Designer, I expected to speak to an upcoming fashion designer about the typical topics: inspirations, background and how being from Rwanda inspires his designs. But what I found is probably what most people find when they talk to him – do not underestimate this 25-year-old.Read More
Classy and elegant, Rugamba's label House of Tayo combines bold African patterns and textures with western accessories to produce wax-print bow ties, colorful pocket squares and infinite scarfs for "Afro-dandies" in Rwanda and beyond.
We sat down with sartorially chic Rugamba to chat all things dandy: how to get the look; African influences; style icons and who he'd most like to see don his designs.Read More
"I think I may have a slightly bigger passion for story-telling than fashion. I remember making my first trip to the tailors when I was about 8 years old. I went to have an outfit made for my family wedding. I found the whole process fascinating. After many trips to various tailors over the years I grew more and more in love with the process...."Read More
"So, when he came to Rwanda on holiday, he resolved to get something purely African to take with him to the US to show his colleagues that his motherland had a brighter side."Read More
The allure of staying and working in the United States of America is many a people’s dream, especially the youth. But for Matthew Rugamba, who went to college in the US, the promise of a better future lay back home. He told Business Times’ Peterson Tumwebaze why he chose to return home after college to start a fashion house in Kigali.Read More
While the small classes allowed him to put up his hand, his accent made people look up from their laptops. If the subject of Africa arose, all heads turned toward him. Prior to Lewis & Clark, he’d always been surrounded by people from his country. In Oregon, he picked up a new role: Africa ambassador.
“People didn’t know much about the country I consider home, Rwanda—especially in terms of its everyday life,” he says. At one point, he considered claiming he was from Uganda instead of Rwanda due to its troubled history of genocide, but he reconsidered. “I had to stand up for where I’m from. I wanted to show people the amazing things coming out of Africa.”
This led Rugamba, always a dapper presence on campus, to a decision. He’d combine his eye for fashion with his desire to share the stories of Africa.