06 May 2016
Vendor Spotlight: Doreen Gombya, Designer & Tailor
‘The fashionable woman wears clothes. The clothes do not wear her.’ – Mary Quant, famed Welsh designer and fashion icon. No words could be truer especially on a woman’s biggest day. It starts with choosing the right silhouette and color and ends with booking the right person to dress you. Whereas there are multitude of boutiques and shops in Uganda that can provide every bride-to-be with a ready to wear wedding gown or dresses for her bridesmaids, deciding on who will make your custom attire takes trust and knowing who the players in the field are.
In our second installment of the Vendor Spotlight blog series (read the first here), we spoke with Doreen Gombya, a mother of three, that considers herself a designer, stylist, consultant and tailor to Ugandan women. Doreen owns and runs a tailoring workshop on Kirumira Towers in the Kampala city center, about her business and what her experience has been working with brides in Uganda’s capital.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY
I have been doing fashion design and tailoring for 13 years now. I had an informal start in fashion having grown up surrounded by fashion. My mother is a tailor and I was involved in her business when I was still in school. I used to hand sew when I was still in primary school and during my S.4 and S.6 vacations my mother taught me about cutting and putting together garments. I also hold a Diploma in Fashion and Design from Kyambogo University, so you can say I have had both informal and formal training in the industry.
I work full-time with my mother, Mrs. Robinah Namazzi Gombya who has over 20 years’ experience in the fashion industry, so together we have over 30 years of experience.
WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU PROVIDE AND WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS
We make a range of outfits for women which include; Bridal dresses (gowns, changing, bridesmaids’, flower girls’ dresses), Saris, most western Ugandan traditional wear, evening dresses, office dresses and the more casual outfits using a variety of fabrics such as satin, cotton, linen, chiffon. We cater to both slim and plus-sized clients.
In the future, I hope to open a tailoring school and making for-hire bridal attire in the near future.
WHERE DO YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR DESIGNS
My clients usually come with an idea about what they would like me to make for them. Otherwise, I read a lot of fashion and bridal magazines and websites for ideas. I usually make adjustments to a design to fit a client’s body type and preferences.
WHO IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
She is a middle class urbanite woman who knows what she wants and is willing to trust us to deliver the best so she will look absolutely breathtaking on her wedding day. We are able to accommodate any client with any budget.
YOUR PRICE RANGE AND BOOKING REQUIREMENTS
The price is dependent on several factors such as how many outfits are required, how complex the design and embellishments are and how much lead time I have to finish the order. I usually charge only for labour with simpler dresses the costing about UGX 40,000 while a wedding gown will cost from UGX 500,000 – 800,000 or more depending on how much detail it has. I am occasionally requested to purchase the fabric for the dress and so the total price will be higher than these I have quoted.
A bride should allow for at least 3 months before the wedding date if they are ordering for a wedding gown. This will allow for enough time to make the dress, apply the embellishments, have the required number of fittings and have the dress cleaned and prepared for the wedding. Simpler dresses take between 1 – 3 weeks to complete.
WHAT SHOULD A BRIDE KNOW BEFORE THEY BOOK A TAILOR
- Start your search early because a hurriedly made dress will show on your big day.
- I advise brides to know what they want. You know your body best and know what looks good on you and you feel comfortable in.
- Go to the designer or tailor with the pictures of what you have in mind as well as those of you in the dresses that make you look your best.
- Also be ready to listen to advice from someone who makes a living from dressing women well.
- Make sure the person you hope to book is available to deliver on time. Many tailors may tell you they are free to work on your order yet they are overbooked.
- Look at what they have done before. There should be a sample book
- Ask for recommendations from their past clients especially if the tailor wasn’t recommended to you.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB
Everyone feels beautiful when they are in a beautiful dress and my favorite part is when the outfit matches the design and fits my client perfectly.
HOW MANY ORDERS CAN YOU HANDLE AT ANY GIVEN TIME
I can handle 6 – 8 very complex bridesmaid dresses per month. The simpler designs take me about 3 weeks to complete so I can handle more dresses in a month. Wedding gowns take about 2 months to complete.
YOUR FAVORITE CLIENT
My favorite client was a cousin who lives in the USA but was getting married in Uganda in 2015. She had two designs for her bridesmaids to choose from. She told me her color theme and left the rest to me. It took me about 1 month and a half to make the bridesmaids, matron and changing dress.
The bridesmaids’ sleeveless dresses had a creamy lacy bodice with a wide floor length turquoise skirt while the matron dress was a full length cream lace dress with a turquoise lining and a flared bottom. The changing dress was a full length turquoise and cream fitted dress.
WHY SHOULD A BRIDE-TO-BE CHOOSE YOU
With a combined experience of over 30 years, we have handled every variety of a client demands. We always deliver on time and our clients are always satisfied. Recommending us to many of their family and friends as proof of our expertise.
HOW TO GET IN TOUCH
Address: We are located on Kirumira Towers, William Street, Room 1, 3rd Floor.
Facebook: Doreen Gombya