BACK IN TIME
Let me take you back to where it all began.
When I was a lil boy wearing a dashiki before Beyoncé and J made it famous, wearing and wrapping Shuka blankets (Masai blankets) before Louis V, Burberry and Givenchy made you wanna wear it, before I even knew that fashion was a thing……
I was just doing me.
As a young boy you could not miss me among the others with my colorful outfits. I think I got it from my mum who got from her father. My grandfather.
I remember having a chat with my mum one day while folding fabrics to take to the market. She paused for a minute and stared at me intensely. It got me so scared. I asked myself, “What did I do this time?” Trust me, I was a naughty child growing up, so I thought she remembered something that I had done. Then, to my surprise (and relief) she said, “Sometimes, I think he's back.”“Who's back?!” I asked.She kept quiet for a while, and said, “My father. Your grandfather.” “OK…” I replied not knowing what else to say, or what she meant.She continued, “I can see so much of him in you - in the way you do things.”Still, I didn't know what she was talking about. I didn't know my grandfather. He passed away before I was even a thought, and we didn't have any pictures of him either.
“Uhmm …is this why grandma always calls me her husband?” (No wonder! I thought to myself). Without answering my question, she stood up and went into her room. She came out holding a photo of my uncle. He looked so young and full of fire! He wore an up-cut, denim and high-cut Reebok sneakers. We looked so much alike and shared the same character; he could not pass any woman without drawing her attention. “Ladies man” is what they called him. He was charming, stylish and always left the house smelling good.“Woow!” I said. I ran into the house to look in the mirror. “Uhm... I still look cooler than him though.” I said with a smirk. Her reply was the most beautiful smile, and she said, “This is how your grandfather looked.” Then she carried on with folding the fabrics and I could see that she was deep in thought, so I didn't bother to ask anymore questions.
People often ask me if I woke up and decided to be a fashion designer. Honestly, I never thought I would be a designer - even though I grew up around African cloth, and proudly wear colorful prints to this day. It still comes out a lot in my creations. To me, colors have deep meaning. I use colors to connect and to tell stories through my designs. Now, when I look back at my grandfather who was a tailor and my mum who sells fabric, I realize that I combined their passions. I believe it was written that I would be a designer, and complete what my grandfather started. It was in my last year of business management that I fully embraced my personal legend. To me, fashion is more about stories than clothing. Fashion is emotional and passionate and in every garment I design, I remember my story.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is ELI GOLD. A warrior born in Rwanda and Raised in Africa.I invite you to be a part of my journey…
PHOTOGRATH: DAVID KWIZERA
STORY WRITTEN BY : A. ELI & D. MUNROE
EDITED BY DEVONNA MUNROE