Founder/ Creative Director at House of Tayo

As the Summer of 2011 was winding down, I ventured into the bustling marketplaces of Kigali, Rwanda with no clear description of what I wanted, but a very clear vision. I had recently completed my second year of college in the United States—yet another year of questions about the food, music, style, culture and the history of my home continent of Africa. Dispelling myths and sharing anecdotes of life growing up in various parts of Africa has been an equally enlightening experience for me and for those I share my stories with. I have learned many things about myself that had never really been apparent to me before.

My appreciation for my culture and history became something that I became particularly keen on sharing through pictures, dance, cuisine and anecdotes, the only area I had not touched on was the clothes. And my word do we have such a distinct flair and flavor for fashion! Bright colors and rich fabric with poise and elegance to match—definitely something that you do not see every day elsewhere.  One only needs to attend Sunday Mass to get a dose of brilliantly crafted headpieces balanced gracefully atop a woman’s head, or to witness a gentleman waltz through a gravel road as if to test whether a speck of dust has the audacity to rest upon his shoe.

House Of Tayo aims to showcase this African Sophistication, Style and Flavor through contemporary, locally made clothing and accessories. With style influences ranging from the Motown era to traditional British tailoring we seek to combine elegance and class with a strong sense of African Heritage and iconography.

The name “Tayo” is derived from Matayo which is the Swahili & Kinyarwanda version of Matthew. Im the 3rd Matthew Rugamba in my family so my dad came up with a nickname to differentiate me from my uncle and grandfather. It is a more contemporary version of something more traditional, much like I would like our pieces to be.

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. – Cecil Beaton

Matthew “Tayo” Rugamba

Founder and Creative Director, House of Tayo