English version about Dress for Two and croudfounding
Dress For Two: Connecting Rwanda and Japan by fashion
Women in Rwanda and Japan share smiles and fashion. Dress For Two creates these connections.
In Dress For Two, we spread the joy of fashion by sharing a piece of African cloth (kitenge) between Japanese customers and single mothers living in poverty in Rwanda.
In Rwanda, colorful "Kitenge" cloth is sold in units of one (6 yards, about 5.5m). However, many women are unable to buy a single unit of cloth and must live with faded kitenge cloth wrapped around their waist.
This project arose when Rwanda side Mio wondered if I could do something for women raising children in harsh environments.
From one kitenge, you can tailor two dresses. When a Japanese customer purchases a Dress for Two item and pays for a unit of cloth, she receives a garment made with half a unit, and a Rwanda woman gets the remaining half, so she can make a Kitenge garment by paying only the local tailoring fee.
Both Japanese customers and women in Rwanda can smile and be fashionable.
One year has passed since the first Dress For Two activities, and I feel that awareness of the project is gradually increasing.
However, we need to increase our visibility to create a larger market in Japan with ever increasing quality.
Therefore, we will be holding a Dress For Two fashion show in Fukuoka, and will invite Deo, our tailor/partner in Rwanda, to Japan to participate in the fashion show and offer products for Japanese people. We wish to provide more opportunities to conduct training in areas such as design and planning.
The support we receive from this crowdfunding effort will be used to cover the cost of Deo’s visit and the cost of holding the fashion show.
This project is indispensable for Dress For Two's further expansion. Through fashion, we will connect country to country, culture to culture, and people to people. Thank you for your warm support!!
“Kitenge”, full of colorful personality, is available in Japan and Rwanda!
Be happy together by connecting through fashion!
Dress for Two is a young project begun in 2018. We use Kitenge made in Rwanda and adapt it to local tastes, transforming it into a skirt or a dress for Japanese customers and sharing the cloth with women in Rwanda.
Japanese customers who have received our products are pleased and tell us "I'm happy to have a warm connection," and "I'm happy to have a tailored garment for myself!"
In addition, Rwandan women who share the joy of fashion smile when wearing the items they have had made.
The situation of many women in Rwanda is harsh. There are many single mothers, very few of whom have the opportunity to get an education. They find it difficult to get a job, are busy with their daily lives, and have the stress of raising children and supporting their families.
What they love is to be fashionable! When I have a good income and enough food to eat, I always say that I want to use the surplus for fashion, and my interest and desire for fashion is very high.
Dress for Two came up with the idea of letting Rwandan women in tough times enjoy their fashion and feel a little more enriched in their lives.
Kitenge is expensive for women in Rwanda, making it difficult to buy and tailor clothes. Dress for Two items are purchased so that Japanese customers pay for their kitinge and their own tailoring costs. With the matching pattern, a Rwandan woman can make a dress paying only a tailoring fee of about ¥250. (Reference: Rwanda's living in slam women‘s average monthly income is around ¥3000.)
Purchasing wonderful items from Dress For Two helps you establish a connection with Rwandan women. Share the joy and smile of fashion with Kitenge.
Dress For Two offers items such as dresses and jackets. At the moment, the service is a “custom-made” process of choosing a fabric × choosing a shape × measuring the size.
However, this process has the following weaknesses:
◆ Ordering takes time.
◆ Quantities are small and delivery is not immediate.
◆ Single orders must be sent by hand carry in order to avoid the risk of loss, so both quantity and timing are limited.
Many people have told us: "I want one! How can I buy it?", but factors such as quantity and logistics are not completely set.
For this reason, I would like to invite Deo, our Rwandan tailor, to Japan, to provide training at locations in Japan to further improve Dress for Two operations in the future.
◆ Dress for Two Tailor Deo
Deo is involved in the overall making of Dress For Two's current items for Japanese.
He got involved in the project because he had a connection with Japan. He became a tailor after meeting a Japanese tailor who taught sewing near his home.
The Japanese tailor recognized Deo’s great talent and told him, "If you improve your skills, I think it will be an amazing level." He couldn't forget these words when deciding on his future. He passed the test given by a Japanese NPO that recruited students and taught sewing techniques, paving the way for his work as a tailor and sewing teacher. His dream for the future is to open a “school of fashion.” At that school, Deo says, “I would like to teach orphans, street children, and those who cannot afford to go to school to sew and bring out their hidden talents.”
Upon meeting Deo for the first time, I shared the concept of Dress for Two and my hope of working together. His response was, "This is the best concept! In other countries, such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, etc. I hope these opportunities will expand and connect the world,” and he joined the project!
Dress For Two Deo to visit Japan to move the project forward!
Getting more out of Dress for Two through fashion shows!
The support provided by this crowdfunding will be used to cover Deo’s travel expenses for coming to Japan from the end of June to the end of July and the operating expenses for conducting the fashion show to be held in Fukuoka.
Inviting Deo to Japan and holding a fashion show in Japan is a big step forward for Dress For Two.
Deo's visit to Japan will be an opportunity to solve problems of Dress For Two's production sites and product development. Deo himself will also learn about Japanese fashion and product development. He feels that he will be able to make use of it in future product creation.
Last year, we held our first fashion show at a community center in an under-privileged area in Rwanda, with the dresses and skirts made by Deo and Goletti(she is a tailor for Rwandan wonen)
The event was a great success! We were delighted to see the women in the area who participated, the fun had by their children, and all eyes shining when they saw the clothes.
I've been working on this project for some time and have long wanted to hold a fashion show in Japan.
To realize this dream, we decided to hold a fashion
show during Deo’s second stay at the 2nd African Square at Nishitetsu Ohashi Station’s west exit plaza in Fukuoka on July 26, 2020!
We will create a fashion show that connects Deo with countries, cultures, and people!
By holding a fashion show, I would like to create an opportunity for people who do not yet know about Dress For Two to get to know it and learn about Rwanda, a country far away from Africa.
Create a wonderful society from the joy of fashion and the warmth of sharing.
Please support one step of Dress For Two!
Dress for Two, did not start this activity in order to simply sell clothes.
No matter where in the world a woman is fashionable, gorgeous and energetic, it makes her feel good inside. Also, I think men are happy to see such women. In addition, children notice adults with such rich feelings, and it feeds their aspirations and gives them greater hope for the future.
We believe that the joy of fashion and the warmth of sharing leads to joy and hope in life in general. And we believe that this surge of positive energy has the power to make society and the world more wonderful. We aim to contribute to creating such a society.
The first thing we can do to realize that vision is to provide products that please our Japanese customers. And, to let more people know about Rwanda and Dress For Two, we need to have an event where we can communicate and share thoughts.
Improving the quality of Dress for Two items by holding a fashion show that shapes our vision are one step in this process.
We look forward to your warm support for Dress For Two! !
About the tailor:
My life story and tailoring career. I was born on February, 8, 1992 in the countryside in a district called Byumba which now is called the Gicumbi District. Two years after my birth, my father passed away. Six years later my mother died, too. I then was raised by my grandmother. In 1999, I started primary school in my hometown. In 2007, I started secondary school which I completed in 2012.
In 2013, I met a Japanese volunteer who was a teacher of tailoring at the school near my home. I was inspired by his tailoring techniques which I had never seen before. He said he could teach me, and I started to visit his house and study the basics. He told me that I was very talented and that my skills could be really amazing. But I wanted to study at university very much, so I did not immediately want to go into tailoring. I soon realized that I would have to a pay huge sum of money to go to university and I couldn't afford it. Then, I remembered what he had said, that I was talented in tailoring… and so I made the decision to concentrate on tailoring.
At the end of 2013, I was introduced to a Japanese NPO (Non-Profit Organization) that was about to start training people in high-level cloth making in Kigali, our capital city.
I took the exams and succeeded. During the training, I performed very well, and then became the assistant teacher for this NPO. Due to my performance, I was soon promoted to be one of the head teachers of that NPO. That was from 2015 to 2016.
Later, I taught tailoring in different vocational schools. Currently, I choose to have my work place where I am able to serve customers with great quality items. I now have a shop selling my work at the Japanese restaurant, KISEKI, in Kigali.
My vision is to create a fashion school that trains people, especially those with financial difficulties. Some would be orphans, some would be street kids and even those who cannot afford to attend higher education. I think there will always be great talents hidden in these people that may never be developed.
With this in mind, I will contribute to great changes in the world. I also dream of having a fashion house where the graduates of my fashion school can work to achieve more. Therefore, to realize those dreams, I want to meet tailoring professionals, especially Japanese, and learn more from them, maybe even work with them.