DESIGNER NAME: Haute Baso BACKGROUND:
Haute Baso is an ethical fashion brand which designs and produces high-quality African-inspired fashion, servicing the global market with innovative jewellery, bags, and apparel drawn from Rwanda’s vibrant culture and history. We highlight local artisans while promoting job creation particularly for the youth and women. Our mission is to translate the passion for art and design into a vehicle for positive change. “We know that to empower a woman is to empower her community”.
Born in Washington, DC to parents who migrated from Rwanda, Linda spent time between the US and Rwanda and finally moved to Rwanda permanently to work for Gahaya Links, a company training rural women to produce handicrafts for an international market. Participating in the design and production for pieces carried by international retail chains Anthropologie and Macys strengthened Linda’s belief in the ability to showcase Rwanda in a global market and at the same time empower the artisans she works with. From this belief, Haute Baso was born. Although she majored in International Relations at university, her heart had always been in fashion. Linda currently serves as an Acumen Regional Fellow for 2016.
Candy Basomingera grew up with a passion for high-quality design aesthetics being clothing or houses (both architecture and interior design). She started sketching as a teenager. With the idea of settling in Rwanda, she studied International Relations in the UK to pursue what she thought would be more relevant for the Rwandan context.
In 2009, she moved to Rwanda and worked in the public health domain for three years and in 2013, she finished a postgraduate degree in Gender and Development. All that time, she had continued to draw and produce designs for herself and her friends. It was in the summer of 2013 that she realised there could be a real opportunity in fashion.
Translating her creativity into a business, she launched her fashion brand Baso in September that year, specialising in blazers and custom-made clothing. A couple of months later, she met Linda Mukangoga and haute Baso was born.