Africana Studies Department Exhibits African Inspired Fashion


CSUN accounting major Sheilla Namara, left, browses Clare Nabwami’s selection of clothes and accessories Friday evening in the West Valley Room. Nabwami travels regularly to Uganda and makes clothes with her sister by hand. She returns home to Winnetka and sells them by word-of-mouth. Photo credit: Ricardo Varela

Ricardo Varela

The Africana Students Organization hosted Fashion Designer Clare Nabwami’s creations in the West Valley Room Friday evening.

“I love fashion, especially African fashion since I’m full African,” said Nabwami. “It’s always important to bring awareness to campus to show that we don’t just wear dashikis; we’re not just limited to one thing.”

Nabwami returned to Winnetka from a month-long trip to Uganda in September to visit family. This helped her involve Ugandan fashion trends into her work.

“I’ve been making clothes for 3 years. I go to Uganda to visit my family and I make clothes with my sister. I love fashion,” Nabwami said.

Nabwami said she takes inspiration from natural patterns she sees. The colorful selection included many traditional pieces, including one made from fragile barkcloth. Another piece she made was inspired by a peacock’s plumage and from Ugandan traditional dresses.

African fashion model, Prossy Nakanwagi, said she relates to the natural fabrics that Nabwami uses.

“These clothes remind me of my culture and home,” said Nakanwagi. “The pieces are inspired by nature and are created from natural fabrics.”

Nabwami’s sister hand crafted the items that she sells. She showcases her clothes on her Facebook page and personally delivers to customers. She’s working towards opening an online store soon.

“You see this dashiki here? You’ll find ones like these all over Crenshaw for $300 dollars, and you can tell that it’s fake,” ASO president Olivia Njuki said. “She is reasonable with her prices, and you know they are authentic.”

*This article has been updated from the previous version. Audrey Arellano contributed to the reporting of this article