On a hot summer day during Berlin’s biannual fashion week, models stood on podiums in a decommissioned 1960s concrete modernist church remade into an exhibition space. Bobby Kolade’s collection was the first one visible upon entering. At center stood his show piece — a long, maple brown jacket made of Ugandan bark cloth, the oldest textile known to mankind according to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
The 26-year-old Nigerian-German designer grew up in Uganda, and moved to Berlin in 2005 to study fashion. He recently won Germany’s highest fashion prize for young designers for his first collection. But perhaps most interestingly, Kolade, a vegetarian, has hit upon the idea that bark cloth might be a viable alternative to leather.
On the sidelines of the fashion show, Kolade told me that he had seen the fabric as a child, but only recently came upon the idea of using it in clothing.
"Growing up in Kampala, I obviously saw this material. But it just wasn’t cool," he said, explaining that most Ugandans associate bark cloth with burial rituals.
Read more. [Image: Michael Scaturro]
From million-dollar travel bills and production costs to why the filmmakers behind the Invisible Children campaign supports the corrupt Ugandan Army, there are a few things you need to know before you donate to very viral Stop Kony campaign.
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Ugandan soldiers shoot at demonstrators, who pelt them with rocks from apartment buildings, during riots in Kampala on April 29. (Marc Hofer)
Ugandan army troops and police faced off against rioting demonstrators in downtown Kampala on Friday, the first time the Uganda’s growing protest movement had reached the country’s capital. Red Cross officials said at least one person was killed and 64 wounded.
The recent bout of unrest began after the brutal arrest of the Ugandan opposition leader was caught on video.