Demand increases for custom made wedding dresses in TZ

Friday August 25 2017

Gerald Gosbert Byombalirwa known by his artist

Gerald Gosbert Byombalirwa known by his artist name of Kyamirwa (right) fixes a dress he made for the bride and, left, Flaviana Matata, a top model and friend to the Bride.   

With brides being the highlight of the wedding, many young girls dream about what kind of wedding dress they’d like to wear on their special day – and luckily with the current wedding dresses business in Tanzania, many of them eventually get to wear wedding dresses of their dreams.

From the 1990’s to early 2000’s the Tanzanian wedding dress market was dominated by retail bridal stores that depended on imported merchandise from China; stores rented and sold wedding dresses.

From 2009 the demand of mid and high- end wedding dresses increased andbrides started ordering glamorous and stylish dresses online from countries like China and South Africa, a trend that exists up to - date. And then what follows was a mushroomingof tremendous evening and wedding dress stores in Dar es Salaam, one of them being “Wedding Bells”.

Dar es salaam today is dominated by major bridal retailers with imported dresses from different parts of the world but we cannot ignore the rise of evening and wedding dress designers/tailors like Kyamirwa and Elisha Red Label..

“The demand in imported and custom-made evening and wedding gowns is attributed to exposure that has made brides style conscious,” wedding dress designer Kyamirwa says. Kyamirwa’s real name is Gerald Gosbert Byombalirwa.

The Citizen caught up with Designer Kyamirwa and this is what he had to say. Excerpts:


Question.What do you think of the wedding business in Tanzania?

Answer. Besides the lack of professionalism, business is great on this side. The competition gets tight every day.

Why did you decide to get into this industry?

I never planned, an opportunity just dropped on my lap and I went for it. I make evening gowns, so one of my fans approached me with an offer to make her wedding dress. We sat down together sketched a dress and Voila! Months later I had designed and tailored a wedding dress. That was my starting point and so it continued.

What is the minimum and maximum price range of your dresses?
My dresses vary from Sh800,000 to Sh3,000,000 depending on the material and design the bride chooses.November is usually the busiest month for me.

Why do you think brides are not interested in ready-made dresses anymore?

Women have always loved dressing and being unique. But they have become style conscious due to exposure. Definitely this has increased the demand for unique and glamorous dresses.

Where do you see this industry in the next 5 years?

Evolving, expanding and much more competitive. But most of all I see it as a source to growth of entrepreneurship and employment as it has created more opportunities for florists, decorators, caterers and so on.

How much will you be willing to spend on your wedding?

Sh40 million if I can afford or a bit lesser than that.

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