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Backstage At The Xenson Fashion Show by The Eclectic LadyBird

March 2nd, 2012

Backstage At The Xenson Fashion Show by The Eclectic LadyBird

Here are some highlights from the fashion show that was. First, some backstage action. The excitement, the make-up that you wouldn’t be caught wearing anywhere else but the fashion runway, and peeks of the outrageous outfits before they hit the runway (aren’t you the lucky one! :P ) Okay, some pics were actually taken after the runway. The models are more relaxed after the big walk, plus they’re not being herded into position to get on stage so they can have some fun.

Like I said before, it was all afro-centric so the hair and make-up had to reflect that. Prior to having the hair done I had forgotten how unflattering I feel I look with cornrows. I had only ever plaited them once before in my adult life, and this was the second. I was convinced they weren’t for me, and much as a few disagreed, I wasn’t convinced. Gratefully the outfits I was given covered my head, so no worries. The white things in the cornrows are cowrie shells… very traditional here, also used as money back in the day before colonialism.

Full article at:

Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Event Showcasing Ugandan Artist and Fashion Designer Xenson Senkaaba

March 2nd, 2012

Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Event Showcasing Ugandan Artist and Fashion Designer Xenson Senkaaba

Ssenkaaba Samson (Xenson) is a young multi talented creator of the unconventional with extraordinary imagination and unfound creativity greatly influenced by the grandeur of African arts, African cultures, vitality of African dance and Hip-Hop as a free expressive art form. He is at the vanguard of a youthful art renaissance that refuses to be pigeonholed into a singular artistic expression.

Whether hand painting clothes for his Art for Wear fashion label “XENSON”’ piercing live graffiti performances and back chops co-directing music videos and Hip-Hop shows or reciting his poetry, Ssenkaaba lives up to his motto, “creativity is limitless”.

First impressions of his childhood are tainted with blood stained memories of Idi Amin and Obote brutality coupled with the turbulent revolution of the NRA guerilla movement that took place in the now famous Luweero triangle in Uganda. His grandfather and former Vice president of Uganda, the late Dr. Samson Kisekka having been at the centre stage of the revolution. Ssenkaaba returned to a now calm triangle after the armed struggle and he collected thousands of bullet shells and magazines which he made into imitations of large wire cars, army trucks, mambas and trailers and some were assembled into miniature installations of soldiers at war. He would play with his homemade toys providing the war sound track with his mouth.

As a primary pupil he had entire Kasuku Exercise books dedicated to the drawings of men with guns and soldiers at war sometime drawing at the back of Maths and English books. One day in primary six, the mathematics teacher found some of the drawings and instead of punishing him as was the case introduced him to the History and Biology teacher who gave him a commission to make history and illustrations for the entire school. With his first pay, he bought a basket of pancakes for his classmates.

School was easy to Senkaaba because he topped his class from P1-S4 and emerged second best student in Masaka District at his O’ levels and went ahead to do Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Fine Art at his A’ levels also passing very highly. However, he knew at an early age that he wanted to be in a creative field and also knew for someone to be at the verge immortality, sacrifice must be an essential ingredient. So, he sacrificed his engineering degree to join Makerere’s Margaret Trowel School of Industrial and Fine Art one of the finest and oldest art institutions in Sub Saharan Africa where he graduated with a First Class Honours Degree. One of the seven 1st Class degrees at the University that year.

Intermittent appearances in numerous group exhibitions both at home and broad and elusive silences were followed by his first solo Art Exhibition at the German Cultural Centre aptly named “KALI CUWALEKALAFULU” (culturally colourful) which was a shock in the Art circles. It was a provocative, volatile and an extraordinary one preferring to incorporate poetry, performance art and to show the artwork in a guerilla -street vendor- like manner as opposed to the traditional gallery exhibition. He opened a new chapter to an untainted freedom of expression and challenged other artists to take art to a different level and prove the limitless possibilities of Art and the Artist.

You can see more of Xenson’s Artwork and Fashion here: |

Xenson Futuristic Past by The Independent Kampala Uganda

March 2nd, 2012

Xenson Futuristic Past by The Independent Kampala Uganda

Xenson, the first Ugandan designer to be showcased on MNET's Studio 53, a SouthAfrican lifestyle show that is beamed to all of Africa, put on a show that wowed the audience.

The hall was packed and the line of cars stretched from the Kampala Serena Hotel gates to the subway roundabout. It took drivers 15-20 minutes to enter the hotel and all were going to the show, which in itself was a big surprise.

Even the invitation card to Xenson' show - two stitched pieces of card with his label, was original.

Samson Ssenkaaba a.k.a Xenson is a painter, fashion designer and master pattern maker, and pioneer of the Hip-Hop Lugaflow genre that is at last giving Ugandan music some definition.

He has traveled the world showcasing his talents in France, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, Mauritius, Niger, Rwanda, Kenya, China and Japan.

XENSON was presented by REDD's, the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development and D-Mark Mobile to bring his newest Eco-friendly fashion collection in the heart of Kampala.

The show concept, designed to tie in all the elements that make Xenson took over one year of planning.

It had a creative support cast in the name of Latif and Stella Atal, as well as 50 creative people who each did their best to outdo the other in terms of getting the audience's attention.

Latif made eight dresses in 21 minutes, cutting the patterns right on stage, handing the dresses over to the models over his shoulder without even looking at them and dressing them all on stage as they went to line up in the back while waiting for him to finish before filing out one by one to display the dresses. As they were dressing, falling green wrappers and quick flashes of bare flesh kept the audience sheepishly giggling and entertained.

For the speed at which he made the dresses, they turned out surprisingly good as the kind of fabrics he was working with, Lycra, velvet and the likes, tend to ruche into gathers if not sown carefully. His were just skin-tight dynamite, especially a spectacularly slinky red velvet number that I mentally booked and put in my closet and another that had the model wondering if her bits were showing as she slinked down the catwalk. The men in the audience were definitely very happy.

Stella Atal was a crowd favorite, especially for the artistic ladies with her mix-media take on African Fashion. I like her choice in materials, a lot of traditional bark-cloth mixed with some chiffon headdresses as well as the usual calabash gourds. The ideas were great- but Stella has yet to make the full cross-over from Art fashion to Street Fashion as her street fashion clothes still tend to have a bit of a 'mummy' feel, which is not bad, but even mummy's want to feel like they are hot occasionally.

As for Xenson, the low point for some people was they there was not a clear journey between the past, present, and future, especially with the use of wood.

Sylvia Owori's sister complained about the amount of side distractions on the show like the comedians and curtain raisers took too long. The show ended at around midnight but by then half the audience had left even before Xenson's segment ended. Some people did not understand some of the material uses and thought the un-ended 'mukeeka' matting was a distraction for them. However that is part of the design, allowing the mat to fray and contrast with the rigid tailoring.

Model and city socialite Judith Heard modeled for Stella Atal, and the makeup as well as the off kilter show, made for the fact that very few people recognised her as this is not the kind of shows she traditionally works with. She however said she enjoyed the experience so much and raved about Xenson's work : "As a participant I found it very interesting. Xenson is a very creative designer, I am so crazy about his bags. It is the first time I am seeing them but I think they are good for hand-luggage. I didn't get to work with him, I worked with Stella Atal; he had kept a dress for me but I was so tired. But I really want to work with him next time."

As one of the hottest designers in this country Sylvia Owori herself gave the show the double thumbs up.

"I think the show today was fantastic! There was a lot of creativity and 'Africaness'," she said.

She said she was looking forward to seeing more from Xenson because a lot of the collection he showed she had already seen.

"I would have said I am a little disappointed but I know how hard it is to put together a show," she said. "All in all it's fantastic; it's good for the fashion industry in Uganda. We need to have a lot more shows and there were a lot of people who came today which was very nice and good for the future of Uganda."

Anne Musisi, another big designer in the country, says the highlight of the show was the men's designs: "The man can cut for men! Seriously! Very good construction (referring to the pattern cutting and the construction of the clothes); I think though that Stella outshone him in the mixed media".

Santa Anzo of Arapapa was more gushing of her praise of Xenson: "WOW- I think it was mind-blowing. A lot of hardwork went in there and I think we should have paid more actually. All the 3 fashion designers did a wonderful show and the highlight was the threesome (the 3 bark cloth Xenson design)- that one did it for me."
Tagged: Arts, East Africa, Uganda

XENSON Artistic Fashion in the New Vision Uganda Leading Paper

March 2nd, 2012

XENSON Artistic Fashion in the New Vision Uganda Leading Paper

Life Style
Xenson Rocked
Publish Date: Nov 17, 2011
By Carol Kezaabu

It has been a while since we saw a fashion show that was memorable let alone exceptional but that’s what Samson “Xenson” Ssenkaaba did at his Futuristic Past fashion extravaganza on 9th November at the Kampala Serena Hotel’s Victoria Hall.

From the large x-shaped runway and beautiful lighting, to the beautiful models and music by The Uneven Band and Dj Apeman, the evening was off to a promising start.

Latif Madoi opened the show with his sewing machine and the age-old routine of making a dress in record time – this time round, 8 dresses in 25 minutes but he was done in 21.

For those seeing it for the first time, it really is impressive but if like me, you are seeing him pull off the same stunt for the 5th or was it 6th time, not so much. That said, the crowd loved him and the eight dresses, though simplistic, were well tailored.

Then it was on to Stella Ata who had an amazing haute couture collection of bark cloth designs. We are a society accustomed to seeing ready to wear designs and people have a hard time understanding what designers like Atal and Xenson have to offer because their creations are more for show and those expecting to see clothes were indeed disappointed.

What Xenson did was create an experience or as he put it, “take us on a journey” – he opened his part of the show with the Past, this included creations from his start out showcases, when his main medium was the brown bark cloth. The dramatic designs were embellished with bamboo shoots, calabashes, and sisal.

The next phase, Urban Present, was most memorable for the simple fact that the audience could relate to it. The cool hooded denim designs were fused with a smattering of organic accents of tie and dye and kitenge. The huge handbags, made form recycled leather, car-tyre and paper were also a big hit especially those carried by the male models.

He closed the show with the Futuristic Past collection made from white bark cloth that opened with a strapless dress design with a spherical hemline.

The rest of the collection was just as amazing, showing a designer that is unafraid to stretch the imagination as he utilised different media and poets, skaters, hip hop and contemporary dancers, drummers…
became models.

The blend of the different media made for a fusion of beautiful music, conscious messages, dance, poem and of course fashion. And the end result was a show that left us wanting more.