Exclusive Interview with GloRia WavaMunno
Popularized by French writer Marcel Proust at the end of the 19th century, the Proust Questionnaire is a rapid fire question and answer interview meant to give the reader insight into one’s personality, and if you’re lucky, a small glimpse into one’s true self. In this issue we meet up with fashion designer Gloria Wavamunno. Born in London, England and raised between London and Kampala, Uganda, Gloria seamlessly blends contemporary fashion with traditional African elements. Before the world embraced so-called tribal prints, Gloria experimented with African ‘Kitenge’ fabric from various countries and designed the cloth into modern-cut designs. After university she interned with the acclaimed men’s designer, Ozwald Boateng and in 2009 launched her own label, GloRia WavaMunno. Always advocating for individuality, Gloria is a focused entrepreneur and a gifted artist.
What are you up to these days?
These days have just been taking the steps in development of the brand. From moving into my own and new space for production, having a new direction in the feel of clothing I want to create. These days it’s been a process of new views, new thoughts, and new eyes. Change in general.
When did you start your own business?
The brand was established in early 2009.
Had you always wanted to go into fashion?
I know I always wanted to be an artist. In what field was in time to be understood. I was fascinated by the process of creating garments and the textures of fabrics but on the other hand I adored painting and drawing things. That then led to sketching garments and I guess also having my mother’s side being tailors it did guide my decision.
Your father is very accomplished in the business world. What’s the best advice he’s given you when it comes to running your own business?
(GloRia’s father is Sir Gordon Wavamunno who received his knighthood in 2012).
Hmm, I have to think about that for a second. Well probably the advice that touched my character the most is don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do. Be responsible for your work, in all areas of it.
What would you like to do that you haven’t done?
I still think there is so much I haven’t done. When it comes to the growth of my brand, I would like to expand the business and construction. But another area I’m interested in within the fashion industry…is to be a Fashion Editor of one of those high fashion magazines. I have an eye for details. I am a lover of art; so to create and display other artist’s work would be a joy to me.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I believe like many people, happiness is portrayed as the reason to a peaceful life but obtaining it seems to be a struggle for many. I don’t know if my idea of perfect happiness is correct or is even perfect for that matter but I have experienced (it) by looking and discovering myself or myself as could be understood. It’s my happiness. I believe when you accept and love yourself - as cliché as that could come across - it really does give you a peace to handle this complex and beautiful world.
What’s your greatest fear?
My greatest fear used to be that I would never be me or happy with who I was. But that is no longer my fear. I think I get more upset or frustrated (but not) that fearful of things anymore.
What turns you on creatively?
Everything and everyone; I am an observer. I like to take things in and then dissect them. I’m quite a sensitive person just to put that out there. Before I began really creating, I would prefer to retreat because I found things and people around me to be more complex than what was shown on the surface. But as I’ve grown those emotions have been transferred into my work. How I’m feeling, how oth ers are feeling, what is surrounding me at the moment; turns into clothes for me and the concept behind them.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Funny being in the fashion industry I’m not an extravagant individual ironically. I may say I’m a collector but collecting things that have affected my character. For example, buying a book dedicated to Frida Kahlo, because when I thought painting was my direction, she was an artist that really affected me emotionally and visually. Or a vinyl recorder because I remember my parents playing records on their machine when I was young and loving the way music sounds off them.
What is your favourite journey?
My favourite journey is the process of getting on a plane.
On what occasion do you lie?
When I’m trying to be polite, when I can’t do something or I don’t want to.
What living person do you admire the most?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Gosh, so many. But one would be to teleport, so if I wanted to be on the top of a mountain in Tibet I could with a thought in my mind.
What is the album or song that influences you the most?
In general music and sounds influence me continuously, can’t say which and who.
If you were a mind reader, whose mind would you like to read?
If I was a mind reader and I don’t think I would enjoy reading peoples’ minds. Because the fun in life is sometimes figuring people out or letting people show you who they are. But if I was to read someone’s mind - and he may hate me saying this - but my best friend, he is just a fascinating artistic being. He inspires me and it would be nice to hear the other things he may not say and even (to know) how his thoughts are arranged.
If you could travel to any point in time, which era would you visit?
This is a great question. Probably the era would be the 60s to 70s, the disco era. I would just dance at Studio 54 in America; to (be in) the love and peace era, sitting on grass talking about the world. Plus of course the fashion in those times was amazing.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty in themselves.
Who are your heroes in real life?
The women in my life from my grandmother, to aunts, to mother to my sisters.
Where would you most like to live?
Well Uganda is my first choice where I do live but in my dreams it would be in Japan.
What is your greatest regret?
Nothing yet. Mistakes are made to be made.
When and where were you happiest?
With people I love and in my work.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Nothing. I mean I have days I wish this and that because insecurities come and go, but this is who I am. I can’t waste time any more beating myself up about this, that or which can’t be changed. And if they can then I have to change them.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Faking your nature, it just seems to cause the drama we are at times surrounded with. It is unnecessary when there are more things going on around us that we need to put focus on and improve.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
It is taking the steps to walk the path of my dreams. It’s not straight or comfortable but I took the step to begin, which I think for everyone trying to find themselves is the scariest, most overwhelming and doubtful step.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t treasure things, I treasure people.
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