Shop Blog

March 2015

On 13th and 14th March, at Kiki’s Gallery in Harare, we will be launching our Kampala Fair range to the good women of Zimbabwe!  Harare is the third African city we are selling in (the others being Nairobi and – of course! – Kampala), and we’d like to sell in more!  So if you’re in Harare, check out the details of the Dare to Wear event, and if you’re another African city and can recommend us to a boutique or seller, please let us know.
A Picture Paints A Thousand Words…
We hope you agree that the images we’re producing nowadays – of our clothes and our brand – are super nice.  We have some fabulous models, both Ugandans and internationals who live in Kampala or are passing through, and also our ‘behind the scenes’ team is getting better all the time.  Being a small business, we multi-task: Davis our finance & media officer takes our photos and Faith, one of our tailors, has taken on the styling that goes with each shoot. Every one of our staff (who now number fourteen) is immensely valuable to us – but for this issue, we’re giving it up for the pair who show our products in such a good light.  Yay, Davis and Faith!
 
 

A Lesson Learned
So, we make some really funky kids’ shorts with deep, deep pockets especially for carrying treasure, and we originally designed them for boys. But luckily, girls have minds of their own! We sold a lot to girls, and we’ve now corrected our mistake and made these pieces for our kids’ summer lookbook.

 

 


Have you seen this video?

Shame on us, and thank you to all the tree climbing, football playing, handspringing girls who came by our shop and taught us what clothes they need and what cool girls can look like!

Always #LikeAGirl

Always #LikeAGirl

International Women!

Did you know that wearing your Kampala Fair dresses makes you part of an international sisterhood of switched on women?!  We know of a number of chance and wonderful meetings in the past year - in an intensive care unit in London, in a church in Tunis, in a café in Delhi – where customers knew they’d met a kindred spirit and revelled in the kindness of strangers. Let us know if you’ve been part of another one: it’s such fun to hear about the chance encounters Kampala Fair makes possible!

 

  

24th December 2014

Louise is writing this message sitting on the Nile Delta, listening to grunting hippos and chirping grasshoppers and looking out at what is probably one if the most beautiful views on the planet. And that’s only some of what Uganda has going for it: enterprising people, a growing economy, security in an insecure region, the discovery of natural oil and gas… And corruption and violence and low employment and shockingly low wages and poverty…
Making dresses isn't going to solve those problems single handed, of course (neither is sitting around on the Delta – but it is the holidays!), but at Kampala Fair we sincerely believe that it’s part of the answer, and that building good businesses that give people good jobs so they can solve their own problems is a powerful instrument of change. 
We can imagine how how busy you were just before Christmas, but we hope you find time over the next few days to look back and reflect on what you’ve achieved this year! With hard work and commitment, 2014 has been a catalytic year for us.  Here are some of our highlights:
Achieving our goal of financial sustainability for Kampala Fair. Gone (forever, we hope!) are the days of worrying about meeting the payroll each month.   Lovely for our blood pressure levels, and a huge signifier of where we’re going as a business.

Of course, that’s largely because we’ve sold more clothes, and to more countries, with the support of more partners, than ever before. Which means we connect with more people like you, which we really, really love. We’re as far north as Norway and as far south as Australia, and covering more African countries in between as well. And to help them out…
we’ve made it easier for our customers to pay us.  Direct card payments may be everyday in the west, but getting the facility in Uganda has been tricky.  Now we have it, though, it makes things so much easier for our customers, as well as so much cheaper for us. 
And it’s not just money.  We spent a lot of time this year systematising Kampala Fair.  You name it, we’ve got a spreadsheet for it! Of course, being the kind of business we are, our favourite spreadsheet (managing our fabric) has some pretty nice pictures in it!
Because whilst all the back room stuff is important, and the ethos of Kampala Fair keeps us going when things are tough, our real raison d’etre is still the same: to make high quality pieces that make our customers look and feel great aboutthemselves. Cue Marilyn and Audrey two spectacularly gorgeous new dress designs we introduced to our range this year! 
Both dresses are proving super-popular with our customers at our Kampala store, so we have high hopes for them in our Spring / Summer Women’s Collection for wholesalers too.

What’s the thing you’re proudest of doing this year? On reflection, this is ours: learning from our mistakes.  We’ve made a number this year, including a couple of real clangers, but we won’t be making them again.
And on that note, all of us here at Kampala Fair wish you peace and goodwill over the festive season, and a fair and colourful 2015! Thank you for your company on our journey this year, and here’s to many more enriching and fruitful relationships for us both in the future.

7th November 2014

Introducing Audrey


You know how making great clothes for great women is the core of what we do? And how much we love colour, and fabric, and design? So you can imagine how delighted we are to introduce our Audrey dress!  We’ve had a huge amount of positive feedback from our customers - in fact, we hung a sample in our Kampala store and had women two sizes bigger than the sample trying it on anyway just to see!  (Each one then ordered one that was perfect just for them, of course.)  Here are Ruth and Louise having their Hepburn moment – that swish really is a wonderful feeling… Available in store and on our webshop now. 

 

Beatrice Gets Wed!


Beatrice Atuhaire is our longest-standing employee; she started training over 5 years ago and is a very accomplished tailor. And yesterday she married her fiancé Precious in Kampala. This is the pair with super-cute Rita, whom they adopted last year. Most of us went to witness the wedding, and we had the best time.  Congratulations to Beatrice and Precious! 

 

 

29th September 2014

 

What's Happening at Kampala Fair?

 

Quite a lot, since you ask!  The biggest change for us is Mette’s move from Uganda to Zimbabwe last month, and therefore Kampala Fair’s move in to the world of remote management.  We’ve had plenty of teething problems, but are getting to grips with how to make things work.
 
The most important role Mette has is making sure we get the best fabrics that Kampala has to offer our customers; James here has been going to the fabric markets with her for a number of years, and is now going on his boda boda to take photos for her to select from.  We think you’ll agree that between them, they’re getting it right! Have a look at our latest selection – and look out for the new products we’re making with them all the time!

We’ve now shown most of our staff how to use computers and they’re emailing, uploading, and using different programs with increasing confidence.  All of which means that Mette can continue to play her full part in running Kampala Fair – in fact, if you’re in the Kampala shop, you might even get to see her as she has daily Skype meetings with both shop and workshop - very high tech (and pretty cool, we think!). It also means we can continue to develop all our staff’s skills to their full potential.  You can read more about our ethical policy and what it means to us here.

All the colours of the rainbow
Those of you in Kampala may have noticed we’ve been able to Spring clean the shop in the past few weeks too: we’ve now beautifully colour–coordinated our ranges to make it easier to spot the design you love. Visit us up to the end of this month and give Ruth & Justine the password ‘Rainbow Colours’ and they’ll give you a 10% discount. We love to share… :-)

Piece of the month
We know you love seeing what’s new, so from now on Mette’s going to be selecting her favourite piece of the month to share with you.  This month, it’s our men's shorts – available on ourwebshop or in our shop now!

Kampala Fair Going Global
We’re delighted that you can now buy Kampala Fair pieces in 8 countries across the globe (Uganda, Kenya, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Austria, the UK and now in Australia too), as well of course as through our webshop wherever you are.   We’re always looking for new outlets that would love to stock our range, and we know our customers are well-connected people! – if you can recommend us to a boutique or a chain you love, please be in touch.

Speak soon…
We’ve not sent out a newsletter for a while as we’ve been busy getting sorted after Mette’s move – but we promise to be in touch more regularly from now on.  As a social-impact business, we know our friends are a key part of our success in providing high quality jobs in Uganda. Thank you!

 

13th June 2014

But sometimes things can get too much! We think there are three different kinds of busyness:

  1. Daily do-able busyness
  2. Seasonal busyness
  3. Perpetual busyness

 

  • Daily do-able busyness - the spice of life kind. Daily do-able busyness isinvigorating, but manageable – it’s healthy and gives joy and meaning to our days.

 

  • Seasonal busyness - this is the kind that comes in spurts: major projects, crises and the demands of different times of life like parenting small children – or having ill ones! We often just have to cope and know that ‘this too will pass’.

 

  • Perpetual busyness - this busyness is the kind that can really burn you. More of us probably experience this than we care to admit.

 
Too much doing, going and helping can take a toll on us, physically, emotionally and spiritually. When we get really busy, it’s easy to cut corners on the Big Three: sleep, exercise and healthy eating.
Keeping busyness at bay
Organize your life! That’s the solution we most often hear. But actually, if we’re too busy, our real need isn’t to learn how to squeeze more into our lives — to live more efficiently — but to refocus our lives on what matters most — to live more effectively. Author Patricia Sprinkle (great name, hey?!) offers wise words in her book Women Who Do Too Much: “Our goal should not be to become hyper-organized, highly efficient superwomen; our goal should be to spend most of our time on what we value most.”

 

Summer Wardrobe
Since it really is Summer, we’ve introduced a range of lovely Summer tops. In lightweight cotton fabric and with short sleeves, a lightly fitted torso and a feminine drawstring neckline, it's an easy wardrobe choice that you'll feel and look great in day after day. And our new Summer Shorts are to die for: long enough to maintain your dignity (!), short enough to embrace lots of summer fun, with elasticated top so nice slim lines around the waist. You’ll be the bees’ knees this summer with Kampala Fair!

Father’s Day
It’s Father’s Day this coming Sunday 15th June.  Don’t buy him socks! Our classic fit shorts come in a range of cool African Print Fabric designs, and are perfect for the coolest man in your life.

Who are your Heroes?

This week had a bank holiday to celebrate National Heroes Day in Uganda, which led us to think about who our heroes are.   One of them is the fabulous Jill Altier – Jill is a teacher at our kids’ school, who has doubled as a Kampala Fair model for the past two years, with we’re sure you’ll agree, wonderful results. Paid in dresses and gratitude, Jill has inspired our customers near and far with the Kampala Fair look, and we will miss her hugely as she moves to Frankfurt in Germany this summer.  Go well, Jill – thank you, and we wish you nothing but the best for the future!

And you, our customers and friends, are also our heroes, for your support and for acting as brilliant ambassadors for Kampala Fair! Recently, some of you have posted pictures of yourself wearing your KF dresses on Facebook, and we love it! Did you see Wendy in Morocco? (pic attached) - looking just as gorgeous as our other customers modeling in Nairobi,  Zanzibar and LA.  Keep ‘em coming, please – Jill is beautiful, so are you all, and the best adverts for Kampala Fair we could wish for.

Our Kampala Summer Fair to takes place this Saturday.  If you’re in Kampala, it’s the place to be!  

 

 

26 April 2014

who made your clothes

 

Fashion Revolution Day was held on 24th April this year. On this day last year, 1,133 people were killed when the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many more were injured. Today, people are still suffering as a direct result of our fashion supply chain. 

The organisers of Fashion Revolution Day want us all to get involved in asking where and how our clothes were made. At Kampala Fair we are completely transparent about that – hence our photo shoot. If other brands can see that we, the people who buy their clothes, care how they are made, then it will encourage those brands who still need to improve the working conditions of their workers to do just that. 

Fashion Revolution is an ongoing campaign and you can get involved here.

 

26 March 2014

Did you know that about 15% of the fabric intended for clothing worldwide ends up on the cutting room floor? 

About 1/20th of all landfill in the world is fabric – in fact, Hong Kong alone sends 253 tons of fabric to landfill EVERY DAY! It’s really important for us that our customers know that our fabric's so nice, we make use of it twice! 

We really value the beautiful colours in our kitenge fabric and use the remnants from our dressmaking in our rugs, so as little as possible goes to waste. Our rugmakers are getting more sophisticated in their colour combining all the time (we have some truly gorgeous pieces in stock at the moment, and we’re really proud that we make a product that’s so beautiful from what’s essentially leftovers. It’s good for the planet, great for your floors, and demonstrates that small businesses like Kampala Fair can be part of a bigger positive impact in the world.  Hurray!

8th February 2014

Kampala Fair @ Home
Although we've been focusing on our new women’s collection this month, we found time to branch out creatively - and just look at the result!   We’re delighted with our new lamp shades: the perfect way to add a splash of African colour to your room. They’re available in our webshop now; let us know which is your favourite here, or give us your own colour suggestions. 

New Fabrics
Mette went to market this week, and this is what she found:

We’ll be making it up in to some beautiful products in the next month: keep an eye on our Facebook page to see the latest!

Global Showcase for Kampala Fair
Louise joined other designers and business owners from all over the world this week for the Ethical Fashion Forum’s Annual Brand Preview. As a member, it’s a great opportunity to showcase our work in front of interested buyers and to be inspired by what others are doing too. Being part of a global network is a great support for a small business like us, and we’re glad to be there.

Fashion Tips for Busy Women
We like to think we know a thing or two about clothes, and we also know that our customers are busy women – so how do you dress to look good in the midst of the morning rush? Here are some Kampala Fair top tips:

  • Where something that looks better than you feel.  Some days we feel like wearing a sack, but that won’t help our image – or our self-esteem! Something flattering, and a bit of lipstick if that’s your thing, will help us hold ourselves better, which has an amazingly positive effect on our attitude during the day.
  • Develop helpful routines  to save yourself time the next morning, like getting your phone battery charged and your work bag ready. Decide what you are going to wear the next day (even earrings and shoes if you’re that way inclined). These little things can make all the difference!
  • And most useful, create a pile of ‘go to’ clothes: with colours that look good on you, and cuts you find the most comfortable. Dresses in the form of tunics paired with leggings flatter almost every body type. Nothing will save you time more than clothes that you already know flatter your shape, are work-appropriate, and easy to wear – and we happen to know a company that makes lots of them!...

Kampalafair.com

 

We want to make our website more attractive and user friendly and are keen for suggestions from the people who know us most!  Please contact us with your thoughts and ideas and let us know your other favourite clothing websites and how we compare…  

Did you see our friend Linda modeling our clothes on Facebook this week? We like to mix and match between models and friends because we know our clothes look so good on women in the ‘real world’.  If you’re posting photos of yourself or friends on Facebook wearing your Kampala Fair clothes, don’t forget to tag Kampala Fair  - we’d love you to model for us too!

15% Discount on all our Rugs
We’ve got some beautiful rugs in the store and online at the moment. And to share the love, we’re offering our special friends a 15% discount for one week only.  So enter this code on our webshop: NLRUGSFEB, or bring your newsletter in to the store to claim your discount.  Offer ends 15th February.

17 January 2013

Happy New Year!

We hope 2014 has started well for you – probably by now you’re engrossed in the busyness of day to day working and family life. Don’t forget to look up and see the colour in your life! – there’s lots of it, and it makes the days much brighter whatever
the weather...

Gorgeous New Fabric

Did you know that every year, Kampala Fair works with over 300 different fabrics? And we’ve started 2014 with some real beauties:

These fabrics form part of the ‘summer’ collection that we’re promoting to retailers this month – you’ll have seen pictures on our Facebook site and lots of items are available to buy on the website now. If you know any retailers who might be interested in stocking Kampala Fair, please let us know – we know you’re movers and shakers and know some very interesting people. Thank you!

What Does Fair Trade Mean to You?

We call ourselves both an ethical fashion label and a fair trade company, because Kampala Fair is a business that was founded to make a social impact. Some new customers in Europe were recently sceptical about ‘fair trade’ and what it really meant for our workers. So we’ve updated our website to be really specific about what we pay: between $180 and $308 / month, compared with a primary school teacher’s salary in Uganda which averages $104 / month. Are we skewing the market? Well,  we’re not employing enough people to do that, and secondly, we believe we should reach for the highest, not simply match the lowest.  We’re really happy to be open about our work practices as it gives people confidence that they’re buying in to something good. What do you think? 

Not so hot in Africa…

 

We were interested to see the Top 20 Global ‘Hottest Start Up Scenes’ recently; but how disappointing that not one of them is in Africa. If you’ve lived, worked or visited, you’ll know that Jo’burg, Nairobi, Lagos, are all thriving, and  we’re doing our bit to put Kampala on the entrepreneurial map too. It’s hard but worth it, and we totally believe that doing good business in Africa is the best way for it to achieve its potential.  We’re hopeful that an African city will make it on to the list in 2014…  

Kampalafair.com

We’ve been getting more orders from our webshop recently, and are beginning to appear on other sites too. Please don’t forget to let your friends and family they can order online; whatever marketing we do, we know that a personal recommendation is always by far the best, and we’re really grateful for the support you give us.

 

23rd December 2013

New Tribal Fabric

As you know, we have two big motivators at Kampala Fair: being a good and responsible employer in a place that really needs it, and being the bringer of all things beautiful for our customers near and far.  Revelling in new fabrics is the absolute best for us, so imagine how we felt when we found this:

Comes in a range of shades and is a good reason to be excited about the coming season! Part of our Spring / Summer range and available on the webshop now.

Bukoto Street Christmas Market
The Christmas market was an amazing success: wonderful stallholders, hundreds of shoppers, tonnes of people discovering Kampala Fair for the first time… And we raised money to support the Good Shepherd Orphanage in Kampala. Thank you to all who came, and to all the vendors, who between them offered a wonderful range of products to the discerning customer! Lots of people were keen for another one soon, so we’ll get planning for a Spring fair once the new year comes.

Good Shepherd Orphanage
The money from the Christmas market, put together with a large-for-us donation from Kampala Fair, paid for a Christmas feast for the children at this orphanage, which is home to over 400 girls aged from 3-13.  On Thursday 19th, our talented staff took time out from work to go and cook all the food, and on Friday we went to serve it to them. There was a lot to go round! Many of the children here are disabled, all are vulnerable and all adored having such a wonderful time this Christmas.  They more than repaid us with some fabulous singing and dancing, and a good time was had by all.

New Year Discount
Keep an eye out on Facebook in January: we’ll be sharing the love with a special New Year discount on our webshop clothing lines.

Happy Holidays!
And finally, we all want to say a huge thank you to all our customers and friends, who cheer us through the hard times and celebrate with us through the good! We wish you all a very, very happy Christmas, and a peaceful and prosperous New Year!

19th December 2013

We'll look forward to seeing you! - and you can order online throughout the festive season. Happy holidays !! 

 

28 November 2013

Kampala Fair – for Men!

For so long we’ve had people asking whether we could design clothes for men, and we’ve always held back – until now! Fresh off the press, these fabulous shorts have gone down a storm with ourFacebook community - or maybe it’s the models wearing them…! Available now at the shop at plot 50 Bukoto Street or onthe webshop.

 

 New fabric

New in this month: lovely, lovely, lovely!

Kampala Fair at the Christmas Fair
 We're very excited! For the first time ever, Kampala Fair products are available in Germany at the fabulous Eigenwerk. Hosted by the wonderful Anna Peisl of Liebe Freiden Glück, we’ll be showing light-starved Europeans that colour isn’t just for Africa. The Eigenwerk runs until 23rd December; if you have people in or near Munich, please let them know!

Christmas is just around the corner…!
 If you’re in Kampala, you can come by the shop now and stock up for presents for your nearest and dearest.  You can exchange any items by 15th January, so you don’t have to worry about the wrong fit. Or, come and buy gift certificates for friends in Uganda.  We’ll also be hosting a Christmas fair on 7th December, a great chance to get lots of Christmas shopping in one day.

And if you’re not based here, don’t forget, you can find us online. There are still a few weeks left to receive orders through the (extremely reliable) post! What could be nicer than a gorgeously fair Kampala Fair piece for Christmas?

Find Us: Don’t forget you can find Kampala Fair in ever more places:
Our shop in Kampala at 50 Bukoto Street , retailers in the UK & Scandinavia, inNairobi , on Facebook and online at www.kampalafair.com.

 

26 October 2013

Jewels of the (Source of the) Nile
We’ve made our name using African Print Fabric and styling it in to gorgeous pieces for wardrobe and home. But we’re just so excited about using these single jewel tone Bazin fabrics for our Sophia dresses.  We can’t decide which one to use in our Spring Summer catalogue – pop over to our Facebook page to let us know which one you’d choose, or head straight to our website to make your own selection.

Patience is a virtue II
If you’re in Kampala, you may have seen our signboard looking lopsided and lonely at the back of the shop in Bukoto Street, waiting, waiting for its moment in the sun.  It’s come! Interesting how the most pedestrian things can make your heart sing…  

New fabric
You’ll probably never see a communication from us without us showing you our new fabric finds.  So, fabric finds for October - we can’t wait to make them up in to something wonderful!

A Business Against Poverty, For Beauty
Any of our customers who’ve lived in a developing country will know the experience of being approached on the street and asked for a job. The World Bank’s most recent Uganda Economic Update highlights job creation as the essential to the continued economic growth of the country, and at Kampala Fair we wholeheartedly agree. This month, we’ve become members of the organization Business Fights Poverty. We believe we can make a difference, and in our small way, we believe Kampala Fair is blazing a trail for how quality employment could look in Uganda. On that note, a big welcome to Simon and James,

-the new guards for our shop compound, who take our staff total to 15. Between them, our staff are supporting 40 children in school – that’s a lot of reasons to celebrate!
But does that mean we’re into producing what a British broadsheet disparagingly called ‘pity products’? No, no and no again! "You might think people would buy clothes out of pity," says designer Katherine Hamnett, "but they won't. People buy clothes because they want to be excited about themselves."  Quite right, too: you’re worth getting excited about!

Find Us: Don’t forget you can find Kampala Fair in ever more places:
Our shop in Kampala at 50 Bukoto Street , retailers in the UK & Scandinavia, inNairobi , on Facebook and online at www.kampalafair.com.

 

24 September 2013

We  Bukoto Street
We are absolutely loving our new shop in Kololo, Kampala – and even more importantly, our customers are too! ‘A gorgeous space’, ‘I loved coming here’, ‘it’s just awesome!’ are just some of the many positive comments we’ve had so far.  And we’re only at the start of week three! We are on the way to making Plot 50 the hub of a global business that provides high quality and secure jobs for more Ugandans. It’s a great journey to be on – thanks for being part of it.

Patience is a virtue….

This is Davis, our finance and media executive, and also the interface between us and the many bureaucracies in Uganda. We’ve filled out more forms, and Davis has sat in more more queues, than we’ve had hot dinners in the past few weeks and all in the name of making sure we have all the licences and permits we need to bring you our beautifulclothes and interior products legitimately! We’ll be doing far more interesting things next month, and at least we get to do it all surrounded by the colours of Kampala Fair: a great antidote to bureaucracy blues…

New fabric
The best thing about our job is meeting lovely customers, but the next best thing is the fabric!  We’ve found some gorgeous new prints this month and have already started making some fabulous pieces with them!

Rugs
Our lovely rugmakers have surpassed themselves this month: just look at some of the magnificent colour combinations  they’ve come up with.  Available at Plot 50 and online.

And finally, our neighbour Nairobi
The Westgate shopping mall massacre in Nairobi has been an appalling reminder of what some people will do to destroy life in the name of belief.  We know people who have lost friends, and our hearts go out to them, and to all the victims, their families and friends. Nothing will ever be the same, but we know that Africa is rising, and those who trade in terror cannot stop that.

2 September 2013

Bukoto Street, Here We Come!
We’d save the best til last, but we’re just too excited! As Kampala Fair has grown, we’ve been able to take on more staff, and outgrown our space in Mette’s house. So we’ve now taken the plunge and signed a lease on a gorgeous new production and sales space in a lovely area of Kampala. Plot 50, Bukoto Street is a light, airy and lovely space and also close to the newest shopping mall here, so we have high hopes of attracting passing customers who will come to love us.  Even better, our good friends Good Glass will be renting with us, so customers can buy their gorgeous recycled glassware too. We’ll be celebrating with a launch party next Thursday 5th September: if you’re in Kampala, get in touch on [email protected] as we’d love to invite you, or stop by the shop any time after Friday 6th September!  If you’re not in Kampala, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it all goes, and don’t forget you can still order on our website at www.kampalafair.com.

New sewing machines 
We already have the best tailors in East Africa! And to make sure they can keep producing the best clothes, we’ve been able to buy three new sewing machines with support from the Aid to Artisans Canvas Small Grants Program. Three more reasons to be cheerful this month!

Welcoming you with open paws!
This is Molly: She was found on the street with her mum and six siblings and was skinny and fly-blown - but we could tell she was destined for greatness! She’s not scary enough to be a guard dog (in fact, she’s super-cute and not scary at all!) but she’s so happy to be with us and she’ll be welcoming our customers at the shop from this week.

New clothes for a new stage
Launching the Kampala Fair Fall / Winter Collection: clothes that will transition you in and out of the chill, and keep you feeling brighter too. We have handsome hoodresses , sassy jackets, and the wonderful new Ellen dress, plus stylish kikoy scarves to drape over … everything!  And we haven’t neglected our interiors range: we have a fabulous new range of mottled rugs in magnificent autumn tones.
 

 

4 July 2013

It’s Nice to be Liked!
 We’ve been so busy that we didn’t really stop to celebrate hitting over 1,000 Facebook  likes last month - so we’ve done it this month instead! In fact, as we write, we've shot up to 1,062 likes and counting.   It means a huge amount to us to have such a great community of people interested in and plugged in to what we’re doing at Kampala Fair. We use Facebook to get feedback on our fabric selections, trial new pieces and of course showcase our clothes, as well as just telling you what we’ve been up to. You’ve even helped us name some of our new designs for the Fall / Winter range.  Thank you – and please get your friends to like us too – 1,062 is a great number, but in this case, bigger is definitely better!'

The New Mrs Fred (or the new Mr Mercy…)
 We celebrated with our tailor Fred last month as he went through the formal Introduction Ceremony that signifies that he and his wife Mercy are married. The ceremony took place in the village of Mityana where Mercy’s family is from – traditionally in Uganda the bridegroom and his entourage go to the woman’s family to ask for her hand and brings gifts as a sweetener.  From the photos, it seems that a very good time was had by all, and we think you’ll agree Fred and Mercy look pretty pleased with themselves!  We wish them both every happiness. You can read more about Fred on our website at www.kampalafair.com/about.
 

We had a total ball on Sunday at a fashion show we organized in Kampala in support of Grassroots Uganda, a women’s empowerment NGO working here. Some of the most beautiful women in Kampala modeled for us, and some of the cutest kids too. Showing how great our clothes look on women of all shapes and sizes is one of the nicest things about our job, and we think the pictures show how versatile our dresses are too.  Whether it’s weddings or Wimbledon or wandering round the market on the weekend, wear your Kampala Fair with comfort and pleasure - our models certainly did! 

25.May 2013

Kampala in Kenya!
We’re delighted to announce that customers are now able to buy Kampala Fair clothing in Nairobi! Interest from Kenya has been so intense lately that we decided we need someone there to represent us permanently with a solid stock of our collections and the knowledge required to help you find just the right dress or top! Rachel Radcliffe is that special someone, and you can contact her on +254 736 988 260 or [email protected]. Welcome, Rachel!

Autumn’s Just Around the Corner
We've all still got a whole summer to enjoy, of course, but at Kampala Fair we're finishing off our autumn / winter collection ready to show wholesale buyers. But we never like to do anything without showing our lovely retail customers - so (drum roll, please!) TA DA!!  Check out our gorgeous new "Hooddress" (we are still working on the name!) – this and others equally lovely will be available on the webshop in the next couple of weeks.


 

Meet Leah
Leah Numbuya is our second recruit in as many months, after Grace the tailor, and has taken over washing and ironing duties from Ruth, who has more than enough to do managing our stock for us. Most of the fabric we use is traditional waxed Kitenge, so it has to be carefully washed to remove the stiffness and make absolutely sure the colour is set. Leah is 24 and the mother of toddler Jane, and already has one degree so could do the job standing on her head (but hasn't so far!).  She's going to use her time with Kampala Fair to save up money to go back to school: at the moment she's keen to pursue a Masters in Education. Welcome, Leah!

Pre-Summer Shopping Reminder
Not long now before people start leaving Kampala for the summer break.  Don’t forget to come visit us before you go: we still have a couple of group slots on Friday evenings if you’d like to bring friends and have a dressing up party. Contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to come. And remember to check dress sizes for your nearest and dearest back home – there’s a 10% discount for all customers buying more than one dress.  With dress fabrics like these , you can’t afford to miss them! Look forward to seeing you.

 

3.May 2013

Summer Events in Kampala

If you’re based in Kampala, why not start an evening out at Kampala Fair with a fun couple of hours of playing dress-up, sipping wine and having a few laughs before going out in one of Kampala’s leading designer clothing? Contact us if five or more of you would like to book a Friday in May or June 5-7pm. Equally, you might want to check dress sizes for your nearest and dearest back home – there’s a 10% discount for all customers buying more than one dress. But buying is not obligatory, and we are equally good friends if one or more guest only goes off with a smile....!

Meet Grace
This is Grace Ikiring, the newest member of the Kampala Fair team. Grace comes from Kumi District in the east of Uganda, but has been in Kampala three years.  She’s just completed a two year Diploma in Fashion & Design at the YMCA in Kampala, and has experience of making and designing a wide range of women’s clothing, including cocktail dresses and evening gowns! So we’re expecting great (and glamorous!) things from Grace. Welcome! You can meet some of our other staff on our website here.

Sneak Peek at Fall Range
We’re turning our thoughts to Fall already. Take a look at our brand new Signature II top – a fresh take on our classic Signature Style with our funky slim line trousers and a top underneath. Or as it is with leggings for warmer climes… Available in both the workshop and the webshop in the next few weeks. 

Tweet your pin!
 Or share your tweet on Facebook… Social media’s crazy, hey?! And it’s the perfect way to help a small company like Kampala Fair spread the word about our products and what we do here – but we can’t do it alone! Now you can help us by sharing all the product pages on ourwebsite, so if you’re a tweeter, a pinner or spend a little time on Facebook, it’s easy to share something lovely from Kampala Fair. We really appreciate your support, and every little helps. Thank you! 

PS
Thanks for your feedback on our Interior ideas.  We’ll be back to with a range of curtain designs soon.

 

22.April.13

We hear Spring is finally starting to spring in Europe and the US – welcome to the light!  So, from the land of sun we've got together some new products and ideas to help you make the most of the sunshine.

Happy Anniversary, Ruth…
We’re celebrating Ruth’s first anniversary of working for Kampala Fair. Those of you who’ve met her will know she’s pretty special; we’re very lucky to have her and have just promoted her to become our stock manager at the workshop. Ruth is 25 and came to Kampala from Tororo in Eastern Uganda five years ago to look for work. As she says, “I didn’t have much education but I had the brain to come to Kampala!” In fact, she has a lot of brain and her daughters do too. Both of them are in school because of her job here: “Mary is eight now, and says she wants to study until she becomes a doctor. Sandra Is six and she wants to be a lawyer so she can decide who is bad and who is good! I tell them to pray for me that I can keep working and support their dreams.” We’re delighted to have Ruth with us, and hope she’ll stay for a long, long time. 

New fabric
As ever, the markets in Kampala are bursting with color! Here are our latest picks: Keep an eye out on Facebook or the webshop as we’ll put it to good use in the next few weeks.

New Kampala Fair Interior
Our African Print fabrics are perfect in Africa of course, but if anything even more brilliant to brighten the gloom of Europe and north America. So we’re thinking of expanding our range to include curtains – what do you think? Let us know via our Facebook page and if you like the idea, we’ll get our heads together to bring you a range that lets you frame your world in sunshine Africa colors…

 

28.Mar 2013

“I can’t wear red!”
Or green, or blue, or or or..! If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard this from customers coming to see us, we’d be millionaires! And our head designer gets a stubborn urge to make the customer fall in love with themselves in a dress the exact color they were convinced they couldn’t wear. And no, not because she’s an unkind person or determined to run down our business.  It’s simply that she knows from years of experience that these "truths" we hold about what we can wear are very often completely wrong! 

So, how come so many of us carry around these rules about how we can and can’t dress? Well, one thing we don’t take into account is that we change as we grow older. And another thing people don’t consider is that "red is not just red" (if we had a dollar for every time our head designer says that…). Red is a million different amazing shades and just because you once put on a red shiny satin dream in grade 9 which next to you white skin made you look like an extra in Twilight (and brought out the red in your pimples so beautifully), it doesn’t mean that 20 years later you can’t wear a beautiful top in a rich red color. And if we had a dollar for all the times we’ve heard "I would never have chosen that, but you’re right it does look good on me", we’d... well, actually we do, which is brilliant!
 
Our designer says “as a general rule, people can wear far more colors than they think!". So there you have it. "Provided, of course" - and she looks quite strict when she says this - "that the design and the quality of the piece is as good as Kampala Fair’s!"
 
It’s all about communicating…
We’ve updated our email addresses at Kampala Fair, so now you can get us on [email protected][email protected] or [email protected]. And there’s still our website and our Facebook page – click on and ‘like’ the page if you haven’t already. We love hearing from you, so don’t be strangers…!

Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise
Our Facebook friends will have seen that we’ve been experimenting with bags the last week or so, and we’re keen to know your thoughts on what makes a great bag.  Add a comment and help change the shape of our new accessories range! And check out our new range of scarves - perfect for fending off a stiff Spring breeze, dressing up a plain top, or doing up your hair African style!

Happy holidays!
 Louise and Mette are away next week, although the workshop will still be open – so the newsletter will be back the week of 7th April. In the meantime, we wish you all a happy Easter break with love from Kampala Fair!

19.Mar 2013

Rainy Day Musings...
It's raining in Kampala this week, so we've been indoors a lot, and thinking about what we do and what we believe about it. One thing that we’re really not at Kampala Fair is fashionistas – there you go, we’ve said it! But why  don’t we embrace one of the trendiest phrases in today’s fashion vocabulary? Well, because really we just don't buy it. We believe that women should dress not according to some random fashion trend, but to look their best regardless of what’s in this season. And the fact is that runway fashion doesn’t help most women do that.
 
So what’s the alternative? We believe it’s to focus on good old-fashioned dress making skills: the time when dresses were seen as a means to sculpt the body and make a woman look her individually absolute best.  Most women today can’t afford the time and money that wearing tailored dresses involves, but we believe the dresses we offer at Kampala Fair are the next best thing. Once you own one, we’re sure you’ll agree!

New York, New York
Last week we sent off samples to this wonderful city and have high hopes that retailers there will be as impressed with our range as our lovely customers in Kampala are. Start spreading the news..! We’ll let you know how it goes.

4.Mar 2013

2013 is the year Kampala Fair reaches out of Uganda!  We already have so many links with customers from across the globe who buy from us here in Kampala, but now we're strengthening our links, with customers and also with other like-minded organisations.  Yesterday, we shipped a consignment of rugs to Copenhagen; next week we'll be sending a delivery of clothing to Nairobi.   We took the plunge this year and are now proud to be a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum - a global network focusing on social and environmental sustainability in the fashion industry. Kampala Fair has already taken part in EFF's first brand preview of 2013 (we're part of the Young Brands presentation herehttp://source.ethicalfashionforum.com/article/source-brand-preview-2013-programme), and we're really benefitting both from their knowledge of the ethical fashion market and from the contacts we're making. 

13.Feb 2013< The culture and fashion website EcoSalon chose Kampala Fair as one of 4 standout designs from the most impressive category: womenswear young brands at the SOURCE Brand preview last week. They wrote “The modest and flattering cuts of their dresses coupled with vibrant colors and African prints are an effortless standout”. http://ecosalon.com/ethical-fashion-forums-source-brand-preview/

4. Feb 2013

Really happy to have taken part in the Ethical Fashion Forum Brand Preview last week!  Is good to be inspired by other designers working across the world. (If you haven’t got an hour, Louise is speaking from about 30 min in! – but if you have, it’s all very exciting stuff )
http://vimeo.com/58584334

30. may 2012 At the beginning of this month we were very happy to inform our customers that the shipping expenses we initially calculated when launching the shop was too high and for that reason we have now been able to reduce all our prices to our overseas customers. The corrections have been made and all new prices are as listed.

5. oct. 2011 Yesterday was a very big day for us as we finally got to present this beautiful webshop to our facebook friends. The real launch will be in a couple of weeks as we still have more things to put in the shop, some proof-reading to do and photos to add. But the main thing for now is that its actually working! 

A big thanks to Jantien Zuurbier and Henk Boelman for making this incredibly nice webshop – its even better than I dared hope for! Also thank you to Sarah Bernabe for taking all the professional photos of the shop (the not so professional ones are all mine). Sarah has even promised to do some more, so check back even if you just like to look at great photos. Then thank you to our stunningly beautiful models Camilla and Vivian - and finally a big thank you to Maren Moe Stokke for making the Kampala Fair Logo and other graphic design for us!

30. oct 2011
Time really flies and its all most a month since we got online with the shop. And allready we are in the process of adding items to the shop from our second online collection the Kampala Fair Diva. Its cool long skirts, funky trousers, and then we have found some great new fabrics for our old classics the Signature Dress and Signature Top. Finally we have made new fab versions of our increasingly popular newcomer the Bow Dress. So take a look around the shop and see all the new things. If you have any questions or comments regarding the shop or our product please feel free to contact us here: [email protected]