WE ARE: An impact driven clothing brand with a mission to return Uganda‘s textile industry to the peak levels of the early 1970s, when more cotton was processed inland than exported.
RETURN TO SENDER is the first project series by BUZIGAHILL: We redesign second-hand clothes and redistribute them to the global North, where they were originally discarded before being shipped to Uganda.
The once prosperous Ugandan textile industry has suffered significantly since the 1970s and has not recovered from the shocks of market liberalisation and globalisation to be able to create jobs, textiles and clothing for the population of 47 million.
Local fashion has been replaced by imports of second-hand clothes and cheap, synthetic imitations from the global North. Ugandan design and production cannot compete against the low prices and diversity that second-hand clothing offers – these remain a threat to local economies and the environment.
BUZIGAHILL and RETURN TO SENDER are a direct response to the impacts of second-hand clothing on Uganda’s textile industry.
PRODUCTION: Garments are sourced from clothing importers in Kampala and Owino Market, one of the biggest second-hand clothing markets in the world, before undergoing transformational design and production processes at our studio in Kampala.
Each redesigned piece is unique and branded with a passport label, which indicates providence, production period, size, passport number and care instructions. There is only one.
We collaborate with artists and artisans to add value to second-hand clothes. Our first artistic collaboration was released with DROP 03 in December 2022: Shirts and hoodies were hand-embroidered by the Yangani Women’s Group and the Milaya Project at Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in northwestern Uganda.
RETURN TO SENDER is produced by a small team of seamstresses in Kampala: Nelly Mudondo, Lilian Nabadda, Faith Katoko and Anita Nakandi. Our previous interns are: Remmy Mwagale and Shamilah Costance.
FOUNDER: With BUZIGAHILL, Bobby Kolade returns to design after a two-year stint in the Ugandan cotton supply chain.
Kolade grew up between Kampala and Lagos. He holds a masters in Fashion Design from the Academy of Arts Berlin Weissensee and has professional experience at Maison Margiela and Balenciaga in Paris.
BOBBY KOLADE womenswear (2013-2016) was launched with coats made of Ugandan bark cloth and won the Start Your Fashion Business Award in Berlin and the New Star Award at the Shenzhen Day Prize, awarded by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Kolade was a finalist at the Woolmark Prize in 2015.