At 25 years old, Carlyn Bavuga is in the process of building a fashion house that will not only be the go-to house for trendy clothes but also an academy that is affordable to dispense tailoring skills to young people.
With a natural delight for clothes, Bavuga’s fashion career began in her teenage years as she lent a hand to her mother, a seamstress at the time, serving her local Rotary’s Club needs. Her own interest grew at this point as she helped around her mothers’ business and when her mother diverted from textile to farm work, Bavuga continued from where she stopped.
With her dreams and interests bigger than mainstream school, Bavuga chose to work on her passion in fashion. She did this by retracing her mother’s footsteps to reconnect with the clients from Rotary Club. Going back and forth between Kampala and Mbarara, she got contracts to make Rotarian merchandise. Her products were a hit in the group and she soon started importing material from Turkey and China..
While doing this her fashion and design skills grew to the point where she was confident enough to start her own company.
As the company was taking off in 2020, the pandemic descended on the country and it became a difficult year for many in the creative sector due to lockdowns and shutdowns necessitated by the COVID-19 outbreak. Just like many people, Bavuga’s tailoring business was gravely affected as she had to shut down for some time.
However, this barely discouraged her. Opportunity knocked in the form of the COVID-19 Rebound Program at MoTIV. After seeing the advert at Rotary Club, she signed up for the Tailoring skills sessions.
Previously sceptical about how free the training was, Bavuga proceeded to sign up and found that indeed for the course of three months, she would get training in tailoring that was free of charge. This was met with relief as she always decried the costs of tailoring courses mainly needed by young people without ready sources of income.
Fast forward, Bavuga graduated on May 28 after perfecting her craft. She is now confident enough to start building her empire.
She comments on her experience with joy. “MoTIV is a blessing to young entrepreneurs like me. It has exposed me to a new and different world of creativity. From here, I have learnt a set of marketable fashion styles that will benefit my business a lot. I did not know how to sew these trendy fashions styles yet my clients always demanded them. Diversification of fashion styles will increase my clientele base and my earning,” she says.
On some of the key takeaways from the training, Bavuga says, “The MoTIV training helped us to get accustomed to feedback. This is a good thing because client feedback helps us to improve our craft and wins us more clients in the end.”
At the moment, Bavuga nurses the dream of registering Bavuga’z Fashion House until it becomes a household name. She wants to use it to bring the latest fashion trends to market and set up an affordable academy to give budding tailors a starting point.
The textile training manager at MoTIV, Geoffrey Ntale, says that the COVID-19 Rebound program was an initiative that began to help businesses of Creatives get back on their feet. The textile program that Bavuga and 22 other young women participated in was implemented in partnership with Rotary.
“Rotary was a choice partner in this initiative because of the charitable initiatives that it does in communities. With access to populations of interest like young women and men, we were able to find women like Bavuga and others who were in need of skilling,” Ntale explains.
Currently, a six-month programme called Future Fashion is happening at MoTIV. Themed “From Zero to Hero”, young designers are taken through training that is a hybrid of factory training and prototyping. The goal is to lift them from the level of amateurs to professionals ready to enter the fashion industry. It comprises four masterclasses including tailoring, fashion design and portfolio, and screen printing.
This class is only the beginning. The plan is to roll out a series of masterclasses covering a wide range of areas in fashion like traditional wear, bridal wear and backpacks.
All these efforts are geared towards empowering young women and men to unlock their potential into becoming game-changers in their community as we race towards the future.