Return to Sender: Bobby Kolade’s new collection upcycles Uganda’s secondhand clothing for the Global North

Sign up for us for the next edition of the Vogue Small business Sustainability Forum on 28 April. 

Designer Bobby Kolade has worked for Balenciaga and started an eponymous label with a studio in Berlin. For his next act, he’s returned to Uganda, the place he was raised, and is producing a new brand that could alter the which means of round style.

Buzigahill launched on 27 April as a clothing model “with a mission to return Uganda‘s textile industry to the peak concentrations of the early 1970s, when much more cotton was processed than exported”. Its 1st undertaking, Return to Sender, requires dresses purchased from the secondhand marketplace in Uganda and redesigns them, with an upcycled aesthetic, into new garments offered to marketplaces in the Worldwide North.

“We perform with secondhand apparel, repurpose them and give them new existence, new identity,” states Kolade. “We’re sending the apparel back to where they came from, but we have imbued a Ugandan identification onto these items.”

Picture: Ian Nnyanzi, Courtesy of Buzigahill

Kolade is concentrating on clients in countries including the US, the British isles and South Korea — which is exactly where the clothing the collection was sourced from originated. Buzigahill, which is self-funded, is launching with an on the internet, direct-to-consumer shop, whilst down the line Kolade hopes to get into specified retail outlets that align with his notion and goal. There’s small precedent for a label like his, but Kolade, who moved to Uganda’s money Kampala after working in style in Europe for decades the place his eponymous label was a finalist for the Woolmark Prize in 2015, is apparent-eyed about what he’s environment out to do and the place he desires to just take the manufacturer in the long term. And he thinks the world is completely ready for it.