Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Charles Kasozi but in the fashion industry, I am known as Ras Kasozi. I was born in Kampala and I must have attended about 14 schools, which ended in Muteesa I Royal University where I studied Computer Science.
I would, however, illegally sneek into the fashion classes because I had more passion for designs lessons than the Computer Science ones. I dropped out of university after two years because I felt that I had gained enough skills to start doing my own work in fashion.
You attended 14 schools!
Yes, I did. Getting an education was not easy for me. I kept on changing schools because of various issues. The reason was mostly because of school fees.
For instance, there was a time my father was in jail and the responsibility shifted to my mother to take care of our family of five. I had to opt for cheaper schools then.
How does it feel working in the fashion profession that is dominated by women?
It motivates me to work harder. The misconception most people have about this industry is that fashion is for only women. It is my passion.
As a fashion designer, are you always keen on your own personal appearance?
No, I dress the way I normally feel like. My work should speak for me and not the clothes that I wear.
How exactly do you fashion designers make profits from such a profession?
There is a belief that fashion is not a serious profession. That it is done for passing time and for fun. The money mainly comes from fashion shows mainly the international ones.
You will find that a client is willing to pay a lot of money for a particular outfit that was showcased on the runway. Also, we get money from holding workshops and after making personal orders for customers.
Kampala Fashion Week (KFW) was one of the biggest fashion events this year. How were you chosen as one of the designers to showcase at the event?
I approached Gloria Wavamuno, the main organiser of the event and asked her how I could be part of the event after hearing about it. She gave me instructions on what I needed to do in order to be considered as one of the designers to showcase at the event.
Outfits of renowned fashion designers tend to be quite expensive. Why is this often the case?
What people do not know is that it does take a lot of money and time to come up with these outfits. Also, looking for good fabric and coming up with new patterns that have never been in existence is a lot of hard work.
The other thing may be that one has to look for inspiration for a particular outfit from all sorts of places. Sometimes, the outfits have to be redone once we see that it is not looking good on a particular model. Just know that by the time an outfit appears on the runway, it has gone through a lot of processes.
That is why at the end of the day, designers should not be blamed for charging a lot of money for their outfits.
How do you feel when certain tailors recreate some of your outfits?
I am never offended. I celebrate when I see people copying my designs because I feel that people have appreciated my work and that is why they are copying it.
What does it take to make it in this very competitive industry?
The two most important things are money and creativity. When you have money, you can do anything. Creativity on the other hand will enable you come up with different unique concepts for your work.
Then, for the local designers, one’s work will start being appreciated more after it has been showcased at an international level. Personally, people started noticing me after I showcased my outfits in Vancouver in 2012.
They started realising that my work was actually good enough. I even went ahead to win an accolade as the Best Fashion Designer In The Abryanz Style and Fashion awards in 2013 and in the same year voted as the Most Gifted Fashion Designer in the Super Talents awards.
Any aice to upcoming designers?
Believe in yourself and nurture your talent. Whenever an opportunity comes to market your work, please use it.
Should a husband let his wife celebrate Christmas from her village instead of his?
I think Christmas is a holiday to have time with family, though as a family the husband and wife should both decide on the best way to make it fun, I do not believe in couples celebrating the day separately because children love it when they are with both parents.
They may not have Christmas from their home, but still they should go as a family may be to the husband’s village or wife’s village.
How were you celebrating Christmas at a tender age?
I used to decorate the Christmas tree. Also, I would get clay and mould a kraal, with cows in it and Mary carrying baby Jesus as the story is, and put it under the Christmas tree.
Afterwards, I would lay on the floor the whole day just watching my moulded creation.
What are your plans for this particular Christmas?
This year I will celebrate Christmas with my grandmother, it is always fun in the village. She slaughters the animals with our help.
It is always a great experience to see the meat that you cannot even finish and exchange it with the neighbours.
How do men truly feel about Christmas?
Men are never excited about Christmas. They only celebrate it because they are influenced by their families especially the children.
Do you have a family of your own?
No, I do not have a wife or children yet. I’m, however, in a relationship with a special lady. Not only does she completely understand me, she also keeps me grounded. We have been together for the past two years.
Are you planning on making your relationship official anytime soon?
Since I grew up under poor conditions, I want to work extremely hard so that by the time the children come in the picture I’m able to provide for them. I do not want a situation where by I get children and cannot give them what they want. I want to be able to give when they ask for something.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor