The Gulu Craft Village in Uganda Celebrated Women’s Day in Style
Yesterday marked an important day for all the women of this world with the celebration of International Women’s Day. It was a day to remember all the strong, inspiring ladies who rallied for women’s rights long before they even became a thing – from Funmilayo Ransome Kuti (1900 – 1978) and Visolela Rosalinda Namises (also known as the Rosa Luxemburg of Namibia), to Islamic feminist Shamima Shaikh (1960 – 1998) and Talent Jumo, the Zimbabwean teacher and co-founder of Katswe Sistahood. A day to show our gratitude towards the leaders of the past, the present and the future.
While women the world over came together to honor this special day in a myriad of ways, women in more than twelve countries held demonstrations to highlight gender inequality, to fit with the years’ theme of #EachforEqual. Browsing through the many features and photo reports today, it is difficult not to feel overwhelmed by a feeling of solidarity, empowerment and community – and that’s exactly what IWD is all about. It serves as a reminder that, together we are stronger, together we can make change happen, no matter how small or big.
In the UK, British artist collective Sand in Your Eye, created an incredible 60-meter portrait of climate activist, Greta Thunberg, in Hebden Bridge. In collaboration with local school children, this portrait was created using line marker paint, and serves as a spectacular celebration of the incredible work Thunberg has done with her #FridaysforFuture campaign, and her continuous plight in raising awareness about the state of our planet and politicians’ ignorance toward climate change. Not only is it a spectacular piece of art that can be seen from the sky, it is also a fantastic reminder that we are spawning a new generation of young leaders who aren’t afraid to fight for a better world.
In Bogotá, Columbia, where abortion is illegal with few exceptions, women clad in green bandanas gathered at the Centre for Peace and Memory and marched towards the Parque Olaya in protest of the Constitutional Court’s decision not to modify the countries’ abortion laws. In a press release, America’s Amnesty International director, Erika Guevara-Rosas, stated, “By failing to take this historic opportunity to move towards the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia, the Constitutional Court has turned its back on women and their struggle to end the cycle of violence and the control mechanisms of which they have been the victims.”
The song, Un Violador en tu camino (A rapist in your path), by the Chilean feminist collective, Lastesis, established itself as an anthem for women’s rights marches and IWD since it first went viral in November 2019. Women from all over the world sang along to these lyrics with such global resonance and performed the choreography in large groups too, and it is safe to say that these emotional words and realities, left no one cold. Yesterday’s celebrations saw women from Lausanne, Buenos Aires, Sarajevo and Santiago, among others, stamp out their frustrations and desires for a safe and equal world for our future generation of girls, to this important beat.
In Gulu, Uganda, Lamaro Studio, celebrated IWD with a less political and more creative approach to raising awareness, namely by ways of fashion and design. Lamaro Studio is a wonderfully curated gift store in Gulu, which focuses on eco-friendly, one-of-a-kind garments and accessories created by women who form part of community- based groups. Founded by Nora Nyeko, Lamaro Studio, supports war-effected female artisans in the production and selling of hand-made products. ““Northern Uganda has often been associated with war due to a conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Government of Uganda, that lasted more than twenty years. As part of a post-conflict recovery process, several people in northern Uganda were trained in various livelihood skills including tailoring and jewelry making. Lamaro Studio aims to empower these highly skilled artisans to go beyond being producers and designers and become their own brand owners,” Nora told Fashionomics Africa in an interview last year.
Since then, Nora has initiated the monthly “Women in Business” meetings, which bring together female entrepreneurs and specialists in different fields to talk about their businesses, challenges and achievements. It is held from 8AM to 9:30AM on every first Monday of the month. With such a strong focus on empowering women in business, it was only natural for Lamaro Studio to host its very own International Women’s Day event, namely Women’s Day in Style, which saw Nora bring together fellow fashion designers such as Taloso Workshop, Uganda’s only beads and jewelry store specializing in African beads; Starface Camp, a creative and multicultural platform connecting and empowering young creative minds for socioeconomic development and, fashion designer, Auma Hope, who teaches fashion through a full-time program that develops a cultural, historical and industrial understanding of Art and Design.
Held at the Gulu Craft Village, attendants got to enjoy a fabulous afternoon surrounded by creative artisans, on what proved to be a spectacular day of sunshine and a fantastic program. The Women’s Day in Style event kicked off with masterclass led by fashion designers at 2PM, followed by an open-air market from 4PM to 6PM. The evening saw the arrival of invited guests who were welcomed with live music – courtesy of Jeff Korondo – in anticipation of the fashion shows that kicked off at 7PM and ran late into the evening.
Sponsored by the likes of the OMA Foundation, Inspire Africa and Posta Uganda, the Women’s Day in Style event honored women in fashion in all the right ways. With the help of Starface Camp’s Candy Love and Oyella Patience, who scouted and prepared models for the runway part of the day by ways of make-up, the event was able to host an incredible fashion show that introduced the public to all the latest ranges and creations available from the featured designers. In doing so, Lamaro Studio proved once again, that fashion is a great vehicle for change.