Tuesday , August 9 2022

Cedric Mizero brings Rwanda's small villages into a fashionable fashion platform



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Written by Rebecca Appel, CNNLondon

Having located in Kigali, Rwanda, the 25-year-old fashion designer Cedric Mizero mixes local arts techniques with a wide range of media and disciplines, recreating everyday objects to showcase the vitality of life in areas rural Rwanda. Mizero's work was one of the highlights of this year's International Trade Show, a presentation of new design talents held during London Fashion Week. We continued with him at Somerset House, in London.

CNN: When did you know that you want to work in fashion, and what motivates you as a designer?

Cedric Misery: Feared in a small village in Rwanda of the name Gishoma, in Western Province. In 2012, I moved to the capital, Kigali, and that's where I've started to appreciate fashion. For me, the aim has always been telling stories, especially about the richness of everyday life in places like Gishoma, which have usually been ignored. I came to fashion because I realized that it would be a powerful way to do that.

Photograph of Cedric Mizero & s

Photograph of the Cedric Mizero "Ladies Strong" collection, created in 2017. Credit: Chris Schwagga

With work, I want to show that the fashion is for everyone, not just for people in cities or people who have money. That's what led to the start of Fashion for All (in 2014). It's a long-term project that uses fashion in an inclusive way to highlight the experiences of people in villages like the same place and I'm getting up.

As part of Fashion for All, you set two collections, Strong Women and Beauty in the Heart. Can you tell us a bit about them?

I'm one of 12 children, and my mom has always been a great inspiration for me. For 12 children and always happy, working and caring for us – that's really beauty.

But when I launched Fashion for All and began to photograph women in the villages, they would ask me, "Do you think I'm beautiful? What do you think people will be in Kigali? in his mind? Did I realize that the way people in the villages see beauty – in terms of internal strength, and what you can give to others, to the world – so different from how it is generally understood.

Photograph of Cedric Mizero & s

Photograph of the Cedric Mizero "Ladies Strong" collection, created in 2017. Credit: Chris Schwagga

That inspired two other projects, Strong Women (a 2017 fashion and mixed art exhibition, with photographs by Chris Schwagga) and Beauty in the Heart (fashion collection) in 2018. The idea with both was to highlight the energy and the inner strength of women as those that I knew in the villages and putting forward the center and celebrating everything they do.

What type of materials and media do you use? What colors and forms do you draw?

I will return to the shape of the butterfly repeatedly, because butterfly represents me as life; I love the idea of ​​transformation. In terms of materials, we do not make our own fabrics in Rwanda. Import only, which means we do not have access to many different types. So I love fabrics but I'm still looking for one to call myself.

I'm self-learning; I had never had the opportunity to go to an art school. So I love working with mixed media because I have the chance to teach myself about different habits and grow as a designer. I'm very curious and I do not want to focus on just one thing.

Cedric Mizero is set at the International Trade Show at Somerset House, London.

Cedric Mizero is set at the International Trade Show at Somerset House, London. Credit: Agnese Sanvito

What has been the highlight of a career so far?

Coming to the International Trade Show in London this year! I have always wanted to inspire the next generation of young artists in Rwanda, and hopefully invite me to introduce internationally to help me put my country on the map too.

How have you seen Rwanda's fashion change in recent years?

So many designers do incredible work with clothes in Rwanda now, like Touch of Rwanda, Moshions and Collective Rwanda (set up in 2015), it's a lot of change and it's an exciting time. I believe that a fashion future in Rwanda really is in the hands of young people trying to change things.

A photograph of the Cedric Mizero "Beauty in the Heart" collection, created in 2018.

A photograph of the Cedric Mizero "Beauty in the Heart" collection, created in 2018. Credit: Rwanda Nziza

What's next to you?

I love the idea of ​​experimenting with performance, so my next project will involve theater in some way. I want to make a fashion show in a village, but they play. I would love to work with film makers and one day producers as well.

This interview has compressed and edited for clarity.

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