Last year, MTN Uganda’s youth platform, MTN Pulse partnered with Arapapa by Santa Anzo to mentor the fresh fashion talent in the country. This mentorship program saw young designers getting hands-on mentorship from one of the most respected and seasoned designers in the country.
The young designers were trained in several disciplines such as marketing, product sourcing, design ideation as well as design presentation among others, that would see them carry their fashion businesses to the next level.
A 23-year-old fashion designer, Kaaku Mickeydaddy of the Mengo hill road-based Mickey designs and who has been in the fashion industry since 2018 says the mentorship program remains his highlight in the industry thus far.
“The mentorship program was very inspiring as I got to learn from the great Santa Azo on how to come up with creative designs and also got a chance to interact with other designers. We were able to share ideas and learn from each other. The program pushed me harder on how to market my business and it’s also increased my confidence as a designer and made so many people believe in me,” said Mickeydaddy who completed the mentorship program in the first position.
25-year-old fashion designer, Judith Kusiima of the Weekend fit designs shares similar sentiments about the mentorship program.
“As a new self-taught designer, I learnt a lot from both Santa Anzo and fellow young designers who have been in the business longer than myself. We are still in touch and still supporting each other, something that was made possible by the MTN Pulse and Arapapa mentorship program,” Kusiima says.
According to Mickeydaddy, the fashion industry is a very challenging industry, despite its glitz and glamor. He however notes that the challenges only push him to work harder and maintains that with synergy across the industry through programs such as the MTN Pulse and Arapapa mentorship program, that bring all designers together, such challenges can be turned into opportunities that can push the industry forward.
The industry challenges notwithstanding, Mickeydaddy has been able to build himself an admirable career over the years. He has dressed up people for events like miss Uganda, miss Tourism Uganda, Y+ beauty, little miss Uganda and little Miss Africa among others.
Besides winning the MTN pulse fashion mentorship Program, Mickeydaddy won the rising Fashion pearl Africa Award 2018, Designer of the Famous teen Awards 2019, best Designer Vision for Africa 2019.
These awards have earned him great positions in the world of fashion such as; the Fashion Director Miss Tourism Uganda, managing Director Toto Awards Ug, country Director, little Mr and Miss Africa Uganda
Mickeydaddy is intent on nurturing fellow younger designers through passing down his learnings from the MTN Pulse and Arapapa mentorship program.
“Not only have you been a fantastic mentor to me, but you have taught me how to mentor other people am so lucky to work with someone (Santa Anzo) who is my mentor and inspiration. Thank you MTN Pulse, for creating that connection,” Mickey says.
As a young designer who immensely benefitted from the MTN Pulse and Arapapa fashion mentorship, Judith Kusiima looks forward to building her fashion brand that deals in creating casual weekend outfits for women, while making an impact in the society and beyond the borders of Uganda, a key lesson she learnt from her interaction with fashion icon, Santa Anzo.
“It was an incredible program and I hope more of these are arranged to support many talented designers in this country,” she says.