Rwanda : Rwandan clothing markets and boutiques
are available in the main markets, on the streets and special used clothes fashion stores.
Though some Rwandans can afford to buy new clothing made by local tailors or imported, the secondhand clothes – commonly known as “Kyaguwa” still stand out as the most popular choice of the Rwandan communities both in the cities and countryside.
The Kyaguwa clothes are common because they are cheap and affordable, and provide a different taste of fashion. With these clothes one can be sure to be the only person putting on the style in a million choices around the community. It is very rare that one will have the same type of T –shirt with the next person at a bus station, as the case would be with one putting on an imported cloth.
According to one customer, Chantal Mukanyirigira when i wake up, with a program of shopping a spree preferably, the second hand clothing works just right for me.
“Brand new clothes also work, but i don’t buy them very often, due to the fact that they produce many of the same kind, and particularly you find that, a lot of people are putting on the same outfit which is the fashion statement moment of that moment, she says.
Similarly, Janet Uwamahoro, says “It’s amazing to wear an outfit knowing you won’t easily come across, another person putting on the outfit of the same sort. I can buy a trendy outfit which has just hit the fashion board, but immediately it becomes common I give it away or just pack it.”
Though these clothes are cheap and in variety, the common markets for clothes are not simple places to get around especially that they are packed with many traders, congested and just as busy as a ‘factory’.
That is why those who dare to go buy clothes in a typical African market place for clothes; they have to ‘pay’ for this chaos and havoc where everyone is struggling to win their bargain and earn a living.
The clothe markets have different sections for clothes, whereby if one wants to buy jumpers, shirts or trousers; has to look up for that section. At this point, what remains is one’s bargaining power and one is sure that there is no fixed price. However cheap these clothes get, there is only one thing that you keep in mind- No guarantee for you money or durability of the clothes.
The most first and most popular place where Rwandans buy their clothes is Nyabugogo market – which is the biggest local market- where most of second hand clothes coming in bails from outside the country are ordered- (from Europe, Canada and USA). The second hand clothes that enter Rwanda come with every fashion trends like those made by tailors in Rwanda or around the world.
The second one is Sar motor market located in Giporoso Remera, an outskirt of Kigali. The market is operated by an association of people who used to be street hawkers – who used wonder about selling their clothes and other merchandise from the streets.
The third place is in town in places known as quartier commercially 9(Commercial center) and Quartier mateus (trade zone) – all located in the middle of the city. Here you find brand new clothes for the middle class. These shops are more organized and make it easy for window shoppers to look through the trendy fashion on the market. With the help of the prices tags on each of the clothes is visible- making it easy for any buyer to check the wallets and decide on if they want to buy, before entering the shop.
All these areas are ever busy and crowded with people during the day and late evening hours to
This crowdedness is mostly caused by many pedestrian and cloth hawkers who are making some sales along the streets. At one time street vending for secondhand clothes become so common in Kigali city center, that in most places you would pass and buy these clothes at any spot.an extent that traffic comes to a standstill especially after 6pm.
The government put up the campaign to eliminate vendors as a way of reducing commotion, dirtiness in the city center for health purposes and orderliness.
Apart from the common places, there are places in town such as the UTC building (Union Trade Centre) containing a lot of shops that sell jewelries imported first class clothes (from Paris, USA, China etc) – just for the high class citizens in Rwandan. Other new spots in Kigali include: Mr. Price, Simba Supermarket and in other top boutiques around the town center. These are expensive, and serve a different class of people but they are also very comfortable places to do shopping and get in touch with more durable fashions and a guarantee for your money.