INZUKI DESIGNS is a new age local brand that specialises in Jewellery, fashion accessories, and interior decor derived from unique hand-made products.
Teta Isibo explains the meaning of Inzuki, the fashion and design label that she opened in Kigali in 2010: “Inzuki means bees in Kinyarwanda. Why bees? They are very fascinating creatures of nature.”
“The essence behind the name is three-fold, reflecting on the client, the producers and the product itself. From the client’s angle, even though bees produce something as sweet as honey, they are still not to be messed with because they can sting. To us this represents the attitude of our muse, the modern Rwandan,” Isibo explains, adding; “We refer to this ‘sweet but fierce’ attitude as ‘honey-coated boldness.”
“From the producers’ angle we work with cooperatives, the concept behind cooperatives itself is one of a great sense of community, diverse groups working together harmoniously, much like bees do.
Bees are organised and industrious and by far the best example of a successful working community. From the products angle we aim to create a ‘buzz’ around Rwandan made products which we believe have a globally marketable aesthetic.”
At the just-concluded Kigali Fashion Week 2013, the young designer turned up with a bold collection of rather chunky and colorful pieces that were more suited for the catwalk, but these were well complimented with lots of ready-to-wear pieces that one finds neatly displayed for sale at the Inzuki Designs boutique.
Surprisingly, Teta is a graduate of land management specialising in urban planning and development from Reading University, UK.
“I didn’t ever think I would end up in the fashion design business. It was always just a hobby for me but after a while I realised I really enjoyed it and I was good at it so I had to make a difficult decision between my safe professional career in the land sector and this risky design thing that I was so passionate about. I chose to take the big leap and changed careers. So far I haven’t had any regrets,” she says.
She started off by designing her own jewellery, which she then passed on to local craftswomen to have it customized, in 2007, shortly after completing her studies. When friends got wind of the new venture, they started placing their own orders with her, and by December 2011, she had gathered enough courage to resign her regular job at the National Land Center to pursue her design dream.