[WORLDKINGS] Traditional clothing from around the world – P58 – Umushanana: An outfit that honors the elegant beauty of the Rwanda woman


(WorldKings.org) There is never a dull moment when one wears it. This is umushanana, Rwanda’s traditional women’s attire. Made of light and heavy silk, it’s flowy and soft and comes in bold prints and plain cloth.

The umushanana is the traditional ceremonial dress of women in Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. It consists of a wrapped skirt bunched at the hips and a sash draped over one shoulder, typically worn over a tank top or bustier.

It is notably known that Umushanana is mostly made out of silky and polished materials as this helps to pull out the soft and elegant part of the outfit.



Assuma Wibabara, the proprietor of Kaliza Fashion and Design House explains that the Umushanana is mostly made from imported textile and the cloth is tailored depending on the size of the person.

“It’s special in a way that it can be vibrant depending on the way we play around with the design and color…. obviously depending on the occasion the client is going to. With national events, most clients ask that the Umushanana is blended with the colors of the national flag to bring about a sense of patriotism,” she adds.

The way you drape the piece around your body determines how you will look. The cloth should be draped properly; otherwise it can look untidy and clumsy. Pleats should be even and neatly tucked.

She explains that the fabric used is vital and will affect how a person will look in the outfit, for example, stiff cotton fabrics give a heavy look so these are not suitable for size plus women.



These days umushanana comes in one piece like the sari, the traditional Indian dress worn by women. Dinah Murebwayire is a business woman who leases out mishananas during ceremonies; she says that young women prefer modern umushanana to the traditional one.



This is because they are more creative and daring; they know what they want and when they want it. So they want to experiment with new designs to come up with unique styles.

Like everything else, fashion has never been constant. It is amazing to note that even traditional dresses are now altered to suit current fashion trends.

According to newtimes.co.rw and theeastafrican.co.ke         


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