Handbags with an African touch from Imigongo






Ethical Fashion for Africa

in Rwanda

Joselyne is a young Rwandan who started her own clothing line in 2010. In the meantime, this clothing line grew into the well-known fashion label Rwanda Clothing. In addition to clothing, Joselyne also designs furniture and interior items. She also wanted to offer her customers high-quality handbags. Exchange went looking for the ideal expert for her and found it in Liesbeth Verhelst, designer behind the ZLQ handbag label.

In 2016 Liesbeth went to Kigali for the first time to work with Joselyne and to give her a first introduction to the basic techniques for the production of handbags.


After that first training, Joselyne already made and sold a large number of handbags, but soon she noticed that the quality was not up to standards. She wanted to learn more about the use and processing of handbag accessories. She also encountered a few problems in the handbag patterns that she had designed herself.

During the beginning of 2019 this first training was continued: the models created by Joselyne were improved and two new tailors working in Joselyne's studio were trained. The two ladies also worked on four new models for Joselynes handbag line; a round handbag, a backpack, a shopper, a clutch and an elongated wallet.

For Liesbeth herself, this second training was also a learning process. Because the right basic materials are not always available in Rwanda, she had to be extra creative. Joselyne in turn added her own style by incorporating IMIGONGO art into the models. Imigongo is a traditional art form from Rwanda, where mainly man-made patterns are formed using cow dung.

The result of the collaboration between these two young entrepreneurial minded ladies is refreshingly beautiful, with a contemporary Rwandan touch. Well done, Joselyne and Liesbeth!


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