In Summary
  • Strides. Failure to recognise talent and nurture it as early as possible is one of the major shortcomings of the Ugandan curriculum.
  • Josephine Nakafeero is one of the many talented Ugandans who has had to take a circuitous route to be able to gainfully use her passion, writes Edgar R. Batter.

Josephine Nakafeero’s designs feature in singer turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine’s 2018 Kyarenga video.
If there is one thing Nakafeero cherishes about being a fashion designer, it is the world it has launched her into; the connections, accolades as well as spreading her creations to clients from all over the world.
She has won the accolades for ‘Best Advocator for Africa’ by Mercedes Benz African Fashion Festival, Best Fashion Event of the year by African Fashion Walk awards and Best Fashion designer fashion category by Women 4 Women Awards that were organised by diplomatic missions in Uganda.
Nakafeero is the executive director of Jose House of Creations, a fashion house that she started in 2012. She is a graduate of Social Sciences from Makerere University.

Investing in passion
She always had it in her, to turn her passion into a business idea by combining colours, tones and shades. As a university student, she set time aside to research about fashion through reading information off websites, social media platforms, watching fashion shows on television and attending some on the local stage.
Fast forward today, fashion earns her the daily bread. She has also designed costumes for other artistes such as Naira Ali and Deena as well as Susan Eckey, the Norwegian ambassador to Uganda.
She is currently working on an outfit for Stephanie Ravaol, the French ambassador to Uganda. Nakafeero does not have a standard salary; she only pays herself 10 per cent off each item.

Self-promotion
She began by designing clothes she would sell to fellow students at university. Shrewdly, she went out looking for platforms to showcase her work. That is how she ended up featuring at fashion shows, first under more established names and even headlining others.
Her edge
What sets the young designer apart from the conventional fashion designer is her art and creativity in the way she designs her outfits. Plus, she designs a range of products, including shoes, bags, wallets, jewellery, hats and capes, something that many designers do not do because they specialise in designing particular items.
“I am a versatile designer so I work with quite a number of materials. I enjoy using Ankara materials to design a number of products,” she explains.
The designer also recycles old shoes, bags and wallets, which she redesigns to give them a new look.
“I also use empty bottles both plastic and glasses and use them to design nice interior decoration pieces both for home use and hotel, restaurants among other hospitality spaces,” Nakafeero shares.