Rwanda genocide survivors debut collection at NY Fashion Week

The twins Uwi, Levi and Reuben. Photo: Vancouver Fashion Week
Levi and Reuben launched the Uwi Twins label in 2014. After the NY Fashion Week, the twins will also showcase at the Los Angeles Fashion Week in October

The fashion spotlight is beaming on designers Levi and Reuben Uwi, survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The twins say “they looked to Africa for inspiration for their latest collection, which debuted Friday at New York Fashion Week” reported AP. The collection is titled “I Left My Heart in Africa”.

Their story is certainly extraordinary and inspirational, a great example of their enduring strength in overcoming personal struggles to exhibit at one of the world’s most famous fashion shows.

The 27 year-old twins fled Rwanda at the height of the genocide in April 1994. According to their online personal account, at 7-years-old, the twins and their family “escaped the brutality and horrors, creating a new home in Vancouver,” fleeing the massacre that would leave more than 800,000 Rwandans dead.

“At that young age, we didn’t really realize the magnitude of the situation,” says Reuben told ForbesLife. “We were fighting for life and death.”

The Uwi twins as toddlers. Photo: Igihe
The Uwi twins as toddlers. Photo: Igihe

The family lived in Kenya before leaving for Vancouver and went through numerous challenges before they managed to launch their careers in fashion as teenagers with R&U Styles, a T-shirt line that was picked up by Hudson’s Bay.

Levi and Reuben then launched the Uwi Twins label in 2014 to tell their story and struggles through fabric, patterns and colours.

“Our whole entire goal with this brand is to inspire the underdog, to inspire young entrepreneurs to never give up, to always persevere,” Levi told ForbesLife.

The twins will also feature at Los Angeles Fashion Week in October.

Source: ForbesLife

Uwi Twins Instagram gallery

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