Designer Pierra Ntayombya of Haute Baso from Rwanda exchanged with artisans Ihato from Uganda to create a bespoke look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange - an initiative for established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries to showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability.
Pierra Ntayombya, the creative director of Haute Baso, created a look using wool and upcycled mosquito nets, embellished with upcycled beads from traditional accessories such as necklaces and bracelets, and handmade beads from Ugandan jewellery maker Ihato. The beads are made from recycled paper, which is then cut into triangular shapes, rolled and glued, and finished with varnish. The top is made from a locally sourced mosquito net, naturally dyed grey using fermented cassava. Conventional insecticide treated mosquito nets last between 6 to 12 months therefore thousands of mosquito nets are disposed of annually to protect people from Malaria.
The look was displayed at Buckingham Palace and the Australian High Commission, London. Both exhibitions were curated by VOGUE's Editor-at-Large, Hamish Bowles.
The project was launched by Commonwealth Secretary General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age and supported by Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.