Her strong suit! Elodie’s ‘incredible’ fashion journey

It is not everyone who leaves Camden for a family trip to Rwanda and returns with their own clothing line

Monday, 21st March — By Angela Cobbinah

march Image 2022-03-18 at 13.08.28 (14)

Elodie Fromenteau,

IT is not everyone who leaves Camden for a family trip to Rwanda and returns with their own clothing line.

But that’s what happened to Elodie Fromenteau, whose designs have appeared in neon lights in Times Square and opened Global Fashion Week in Accra.

Reflecting her French and Rwandan roots, her Izubaa brand now looks set to trend this year with its mix of classic French tailoring and African fabrics.

“I have had an incredible journey,” said the 34-year-old. “It has been hard work but I’ve loved every minute of it.”

One of Ms Fromeneteau’s designs

Brought up in France but now living in Highgate, Ms Fromenteau had been working as an assistant fashion stylist before branching out on her own.

“One day someone asked me when I was going to be a designer,” she said.

“I immediately dismissed the idea because I’d never studied fashion design and didn’t sew or draw.”

Then two years ago, she visited Rwanda, where her mother hails from. “I had last been there as a child and saw the trip as reconnecting with my roots. I had no expectations of what I was going to do there but I knew it was going to change my life.”

The big change came with an encounter with the Grammy-nominated vocalist Somi who asked Ms Fromenteau (right) to take on the art direction and styling for her new album, Zenzile: The Reimagination Of Miriam Makeba.

“I designed my first dress ever for the set and co-designed the dress she wore for the album cover. Somi was really happy with the result and it ended up on a Times Square billboard,” she said.

Elodie Fromenteau

Rwanda’s Kigali Fashion Week was coming up and a friend suggested that she design her own clothes for it. “I thought that was crazy, no way that could happen, especially as the event was only three weeks away.

“But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.”

She managed to create seven pieces, only for the show to be postponed due to lockdown. However, this gave her time to perfect her style and, in December, she was invited to open Global Fashion Week.

Her Izubaa collection of boldly coloured, oversized tailored suits proved to be a big hit, garnering her clients and a growing fanbase. It is also to be featured in the upcoming issue of fashion magazine Schön!.

“Grace Jones is a huge inspiration for me with her big-shouldered, androgynous look,” added Ms Fromenteau.

“My clothes are aimed at women of all backgrounds, ages and colours but are also genderless. I want to promote inclusivity. They are for anyone who believes in the power of clothing and style.”

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