As a brand we always look to shed light onto inspirational women. Women who regardless of the challenges and obstacles life has cast their way, have always found ways to overcome them, circumvent them or just plain bulldoze through them, in pursuit of their goals and dreams.
For International Women’s Day I want to shed light onto a talented, and determined young woman from Uganda. Idah Nandyose (Nandy for short), is a 24 year old fashion designer and tailor. She contacted the brand as she wanted to share her story, in the hope that someone, somewhere, might read it and help.
“I search for freedom and seek to be free. I envision a world where I can do it all.”
This is Idah’s vision.
“My mom taught me the craft at an early age. I've never attended a fashion school. My apprenticeship into the fabrication and alteration of clothing began soon after I began to walk. I have been formally designing since 2016, and in 2017, I designed and tailored a collection featuring outfits based on contemporary art. It was my first fashion show, the audience burst out laughing. It turned out they were laughing at my designs. I was told no one would wear my clothing because they were extraordinarily different. The criticism only made me more determined to think outside the box.”
Feathers are a main component of Idah’s designs, which she obtains free of charge from the villagers who raise and process chickens, whilst the fabric is second hand from a local market. You could say her pieces are the epitome of sustainability, with zero waste. Her wild Avant-Garde style reminded me of some early Miss Matahari shoots, and is perfectly in line with our WARRIOR messaging – so it really spoke to me.
To support herself and her dream, Idah works - a lot. She has a degree in Maths and Physics (after receiving government sponsorship so that she could attend) and teaches in many schools as well as tutoring, alongside a long list of other jobs. Idah also volunteers - she loves to help others. Her heart is solid gold. As a university student at Kyambogo, she collected old clothes and shoes from fellow students and took them to the centre to be given to less fortunate children. She is a volunteer at Kaleke Kasome Centre (KAKA) in Mpigi, which is run to advocate, protect and promote the values of girls, often recovering from unimaginable abuse and crimes.
But Idah wants a better life for herself; the opportunity to pursue her dream in a place where she has a fighting chance to realise it. So she’s looking for an internship, or a fashion opportunity somewhere where she may be able to fulfill her dreams as a designer. I would love nothing more than to be able to have Idah help at Miss Matahari, however, as an emerging brand, we are sadly not in the position to be able to sponsor her move to Canada at this time. So I want to share her story in the hope that it might attract the attention of someone who can - any fashion label would be lucky to have her on their team. Or through funding or financing perhaps there is a way to bring her over. If not to Canada, then any other fashion-forward country where she can realise her true potential.
“I am passionate about Fashion, my heart beats for it. There has been so many times I've wanted to give up but the designs just keep coming in my head.” ~ Idah
All images featured in this blog showcase Idah's original designs.
Further work can be viewed on her Instagram account @nandycouture.
THANK YOU for reading her story.
Miss Matahari xx
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Size Guide information - best viewed in landscape mode/on a larger screen.
The models in The Warrior Collection range from 5'5" - 5'9" in height and size 4-6 US (8-10 UK). They are all wearing our size S.
The main model in The New Frontier Collection is 5' 10" and a US size 2-4 (6-8 UK). Her bust is 34", waist 26" and hips 36.5". She is also wearing our size S. The petite model wearing some of the styles and accessories is 5' 3" and a US size 2. Her bust is 33", waist 25" and hips 39". She is wearing our size XS. If you fall into the petite category, you might find XS fits you better length-wise.
Note on pants - The workout tights/capris in The Warrior collection fit a little larger than pants/leggings in The New Frontier collection, as they've been specifically designed to flatter all body types, with a slightly more generous cut on the thighs and around the waist. If you have very slim thighs, we recommend you go down a size in any of the Warrior collection bottoms. In general all of our pants are designed to accommodate curvy or muscular thighs. When in doubt, drop a size.
We've also created all styles across all collections to fit a little longer on the sleeves and legs to provide more allowance for different shapes and sizes; not to mention we love the longer sleeved/legged look.
If you have any queries on sizing, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be more than happy to discuss your specific requirements.