Sonia Mugabo (SM) is a Rwandan fashion brand that was established under the owner’s name in 2013. It was born out of the owner’s strong interest in design; and the desire to tap into the existing local artisan talent to make high quality men and womenswear.
SM made its first showcase in October 2013 at the Kigali Fashion Week, and attracted media coverage and market interest, confirming the need for its presence in Rwanda and Africa. Since then SM tapped into a demand for quality bespoke, receiving orders from middle and high-class women who were willing to pay more for better quality.
SM develops 2 collections each year, and all year round makes bespoke items for its clientele. A pioneer of Rwanda’s fashion industry; Sonia is setting the standard for Rwandan fashion in global and local markets.
Born and raised in Kigali – Rwanda, Sonia Mugabo has been passionate about fashion from an early age.As a child, she was fascinated by the design process; from colors, to cuts and textures.An outstanding scholar throughout her education career at Green Hills Academy, she received a scholarship to finish her high school at Lake Forest Academy (LFA), a prestigious college preparatory school located on the North Shore in Lake Forest, Illinois, United States. During her time at LFA she took several creative and art classes which confirmed her love for design. It was this love of creation that encouraged Sonia to pursue a career in the arts. At university, she made the bold decision to major in Visual Communication and Graphic Design, with a minor in Digital Media. With exploring the fashion scene in New York and interning at Teen Vogue in 2011, she knew she was destined to pursue a career in fashion. In 2013, after graduating from Buena Vista University, she moved back to Rwanda to launch her fashion brand.
“While in New York, the fast moving environment; the fashionable environment, the exposure to the fashion world and understanding all the moving parts behind the scenes, I took interest in the whole fashion business but I wasn’t sure what I would do. I had never imagined myself as a designer. Starting up in New York was almost impossible without having gone to Fashion School. When I came home to Rwanda, around the same time the Kigali Fashion Week was being organized –that’s when I decided to design and present my first collection. The response was awesome! That’s when I decided to stay in the business.”