The 1994 Rwandan genocide is one of the heaviest moments in human history, leaving a profound impact on the country as well as neighboring countries. With over 800,000 people killed, the destruction of infrastructure and severe depopulation of the country devastated the economy as well as the families, many of whom were orphaned or widowed by the genocide.
Rather than rebuilding a broken society after the genocide the government was determined to unite its people and build something new. There has been remarkable resiliency and progress made within the country in the last 20+ years, but deep-rooted issues keep it from advancing in a healthy manner.
There has been a decline in political freedom with authoritarian constraints imposed on independent media and opposition political parties with irregularities in the 2003 and 2010 elections. Social cohesion still remains poor despite a prohibition on ethnic identification and an attempt to forge a national identity because ethnic grievances persist. The country is also still among the poorest countries in the world, with 63% of the population still live in extreme poverty, which is defined by the World Bank as less than $1.90 a day.
Each piece of the Rwandan Collection is sewn on a manual sewing machine and features African Dutch Wax in a unique print. African Dutch Wax is a common material for clothing in Africa and its beauty is widely found across the continent. After finding the right African Dutch Wax, it's on to sewing. These machines don't rely on a motor or electricity to operate, they're powered by foot to turn the wheel. Manual sewing machines are well made and offer many benefits such as precision sewing, quiet in comparison to an electric sewing machine and reliable. Because electricity can sometimes be spotty in the developing world, a manual machine isn’t impacted by this hindrance.