I am soon the be a nekkid traveller at this rate. I have been back in East Africa for six months. My shoes are falling apart and my clothes are running out. What I packed for gallivanting about Laos with friends has not entirely served me well as a business professional elsewhere.
I've scoured a handful of clothes shops and, frankly, West, your castoffs are not up to snuff. Either stuff doesn't fit or it looks like something my nanna knitted.
No real choice left but to get creative and come up with some designs for the numerous tailor shops in Kigali. The main problems are:
- Design: I never really think about what I actually like about clothes. I've always had an aversion to shopping and fashion. If it fits and I can afford it, I'll probably buy it, then head to the bookshop. Thinking about it a little further, I've always liked jeans and trousers that are slightly flared at the bottom. I also love the notched shirt collar you can wear slightly open, with quarter-length sleeves. Thankfully I have a shirt like that which can act as a template. As for the rest, I'm busy taking screen shots from TV shows and looking up fabulously helpful style guides like this one.
- Material: The main problem is the dearth of denim and cotton. Mostly the markets are stocked with traditional wax cloth in brightly coloured African patterns. I've worn bright fabric in the past, but more and more people seem to be switching to Western dress for work. Also, the wax cloth can get a bit sweaty on hot days.
- Fitting: Another problem is finding a really good tailor. They do exist - I've had some lovely clothes made in the past. I've also had some disasters. Mostly because the tailors have made the clothes the size and shape they think you ought to be, rather than the size and shape you actually are.
I did find a dress down the back of my bed last night, but it's a size eight, so not so helpful.
Need to find some material I actually like, improve my drawings, and find a talented tailor.
My ultimate aim is to bring steampunk to this beautiful continent. I'm going to see if I can find someone who can make me one of these. What are my chances?