Uganda's Buzigahill turns cast-offs into new fashion pieces and ships them back to the Global North

When fashion designer Bobby Kolade moved from Europe back to Uganda, he planned to launch an apparel brand using Ugandan cotton. But the country's garment industry had more or less collapsed, unable to compete with shiploads of cheap cast-offs from the Global North. So Kolade decided to flip the script.

His Buzigahill brand — named for an upscale neighborhood in Kampala — just launched its first Return to Sender collection, consisting of items that were purchased from bales of used clothing, taken apart and reconstructed into new pieces. A checked patchwork shirt, for example, is made out of panels from six different shirts.

All of the pieces are unique and made in Uganda, and inside each is a tag showing the provenance of the materials used. Both the country of origin and the source are listed: a bale of men's suits from the UK or a bale of hoodies from the US/Canada.

Buzigahill ships worldwide, returning clothes to the countries that discarded them. As reported by Dazed, its founder plans to open a number of small factories in Uganda that won't just repurpose used clothing but will also focus on artisanal production. 

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