In late 2016, Delphine Fashion House launched DelphineZ. DelphineZ is a made-in-Rwanda brand which features authentic and fashionable African-inspired pieces, mixed with a contemporary touch. DelphineZ pushes global fashion boundaries through impeccable clothing, jewelry, accessories and interior décor designs.
The Founder of Delphine Fashion House, Uwamahoro Delphine, was born and raised in rural Rwanda. She currently is the Rwanda Country Director of aninternational non-governmental organization, and she holds a degree in Medical Imaging Sciences.
Delphine’spassion for fashion, beliefs on how fashion contributes to people experiencing positive feelings, and her obsession for creative design motivated her to become a fashion designer. From a young age, Delphinestarted making different cuts of cloth from rare patterns, resulting in the unique clothes she is known for wearing. Her friends often told her they found inspiration through the times where she has said that making a fashion statement means, “looking different, and feeling comfortable and happy as well as looking sophisticated.” This core belief is a favorite subject of hers, and it is the topic of her upcoming book on how everyone is different and beautiful. Her book will address how fashion gives people a way to express their individualism and sophistication – ultimately helping people grow in confidence.
As one born and raised in a rural area, Delphine’slife dream has been always to improve the lives of individuals living in rural communities. While working with rural communities, she found out that most of her primary school classmates and many people in her generation did not have the opportunity to continue their studies, and are living difficult lives.Some of her peerswere married at young ages and have more than three children, making the costs of basic needs such as food, quality housing, and school fees difficult to afford. Other peers are now living with HIV – which comes with its own stigmas and challenges, while others find themselves unable to experience anything different than life as they know it now, making progress difficult for them to achieve.Delphine became burdened with a desire to figure out how she could provide opportunities that would help people in rural communities address their basic needs, while preventing the same situation from happening to future generations.
Delphine strongly believes that the lives of her peers could have been better if they simply had the opportunity to pursue a better life. For this reason, Delphine founded Our Sisters Opportunity (OSO), whose mission is to create opportunities that will allow young girls and women to pursue social and health changes in their communities, while improving the well-being of their families. OSO members are placed on the DelphineZ designs production chain, allowing these members to generate a living income. In addition to providing vocational trainings, OSO also holds motivational forums and business and health-related trainings, and it also runs a mentorship program. In addition: for broader impact, and to sustain and spread the Our Sisters Opportunity movement throughoutRwanda and East Africa, Delphine works with other local cooperatives to sell their designs online and in the DelphineZ store located in Kigali City, Nyamirambo.
Delphine’s passion for fashion and her thirst to improve the well-being of her peoplewere all it took for her to launch the DelphineZ brand. Speaking of the mission, vision, values, and creation of DelphineZ, founder Delphine Uwamahoro said, “My first name in the brand serves as a confirmation and a reminder of how it is possible to take the road from a rural life to living a secure life full of global experiences.” She went on to explain that the last letter in the brand name – the consonant “Z” , same as a last later in alphabet consonants – reminds OSO girls that they can do whatever it takes, using up to the last possible ounce of energy they have remaining, to improve the lives of their families through making the last and latest beautiful designs, which will help drive clients to their store – establishing a lasting relationship where clients are made to look glamorous and sophisticated, and leave feeling confident.
While reflecting on Delphine Fashion House, DelphineZ, and Our Sisters of Opportunity, Delphine said, “I strongly believe that if girls and women get opportunities to thrive, they can do whatever it takes to fulfill thebasic needs for the well-being of their families. Such opportunities and work will contribute to the raising of healthy and educated children, particularly in rural communities, which will help to eliminate intellectual and physical poverty around the world.”