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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 October, 2003, 08:34 GMT
Drawing inspiration from Kampala's colour
Santa Anzo
Santa Anzo wants to modernise African fashion
The first of a four-part BBC World Service series on African cities takes a closer look at Uganda's capital, Kampala

Fashion designer Santa Anzo is on a mission to brighten up Kampala - and is using the colours of the city's famous Balikudembe market to inspire her creations.

The market - the biggest in Uganda - is awash with bright bursts of colour from cloth, food and crafts.

Anzo told BBC World Service's Masterpiece programme her creations were inspired by "all the shades, colours, mostly Ugandan items - especially the foodstuffs."

These include coffee, cinnamon, tea, and beans. "The coffee's really nice, it's good to work with, the colours are good."

Clothes from porridge

Anzo's clothes are bright and flowing - a reflection, she said, of life in one of Africa's most vibrant cities.

"Kampala's favourite colours are bright - bright shining colours, because Kampala is quite tropical, and because of that we tend to wear friendly colours, colours that hug us during all seasons.

"That's mostly the orange, lime green. Then a few people tend to go into earthy colours - especially foreigners. Most of my foreign clients go into earthy colours, like coffee brown, cinnamon - just like on sale."

Bizarrely, some of Anzo's designs are not only inspired by foodstuffs - they are made from them too.

For example, some of the clothes designed in her studio are made from porridge.

"The fabric will be plain, and when they make the porridge they will pour it on it, and then sweep it. As they sweep, they pour the dye on it as well," she explained.

"That way a beautiful shape comes about."

Take a picture tour round Kampala and see what makes the city tick

Anzo said that while class was a great dividing factor within Kampala society, her philosophy was to try and "reflect us all as one."

"I try to relate to the Ugandan people... there is a lot of inspiration here," she said.

She added that she also wanted to modernise African clothing.

"What I try to do is get away from the traditional way of working with African fabrics," she said.

"I use local fabrics, but I design something contemporary - something really trendy - out of it."

But she also stressed she was highly committed to the Ugandan theme - which want down to the choice of models who wear her creations.

"In recreating my models, I pay attention to the idea of beauty as seen through the Ugandan and African eye," she said.

"That means we do have slender models - the kind that the international market in Europe would prefer working with - but at the same time we have the full figure, the plus-size models, that relate to our Ugandan people."

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