January 14, 2013

Threads of Experience

Matthew Rugamba ’13 weaves his heritage into a growing business.

Matthew Rugamba ’13 is used to fielding questions about his home continent of Africa. The Davis United World College Scholar has many responses—including one that has become a promising venture.

“It’s an equally enlightening experience for me and for those I share my stories with. I have learned many things about myself that had never really been apparent to me before,” says Rugamba. “I became particularly keen on sharing my appreciation for my culture and history through pictures, dance, cuisine, and anecdotes. But then I realized I had not touched on the clothes.”

This realization became the inspiration for a business: his fashion label, House of Tayo.

Rugamba worked to capture African style and iconography while keeping his designs accessible to people of other cultures. He created unisex accessories in a variety of bright, bold African wax prints. An international affairs major who will graduate in May, Rugamba plans to return to Rwanda to expand House of Tayo’s line of clothing and accessories.

Having lived in England, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Swaziland, Rugamba says, “I already saw myself as a citizen in a global community, but it was coming to Lewis & Clark that allowed me to share my experiences with others.”

Read interviews with Matthew Rugamba on African Prints in Fashion and okayafrica, and follow House of Tayo on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter.

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