By: Rachelle Lupton
The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of artistic work.
A competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest.
Reuben and Levi Uwi were born in Rwanda in 1987 and after surviving the 1994 Rwanda Genocide they came to Vancouver to create a new home and a new life. The twins spent years overcoming their defeat and pursuing an inner desire to move forward. This October (on their birthday), they were able to see one of their many dreams come true by launching their U.T.F.L collection of well designed jackets, dresses and unisex tops at local Gastown boutique Alfie Italia. The twins have overcome so much in their lives and have been seen as the underdog, but with their charismatic personalities, humble approach to life and creative minds, the pair is sure to prove any skeptic wrong. We had a chance to meet the twins and talk to them about life, their label and what we can expect from them next.
Being twin brothers how do you find working together?
L: Being twins and business partners there is that personal line that you are treading. But it works for us because we trust each other. At the same time we might disagree on certain points, but if he is very passionate about what he is defending, then I’ll say let’s do it.
What do you admire about each other?
L: He is very good at not hesitating in decision making.
R: His intuition.
What or who is the biggest influence in your life?
L & R: Our mom!
R: She has always been an inspiration to me. I see her working so hard and I think, “Hey, if she is working that hard then we should work that hard too”.
L: She is the example to us that pushes us.
What would you say has been your greatest achievement?
L & R: Getting this brand up and running. But we also started a brand after high school, and getting into business right after that was challenging. We were able to get our name out there and get our collection into Hudson’s Bay so that was a great point. It was received so well and just because of that we have been able to get so much more attention and get ourselves featured in the Huffington Post.
Do you have any plans for the future?
L: Right now we are designing our next collection. We want to get into other product lines like bags and shoes.
What has been your favourite aspect about designing so far?
L: I guess just expressing ourselves and being able to tell our story through our label. With our brand we have been able to share our story.
R: Also helping make people feel good. We want people to feel good, it brings happiness to us when we see someone wearing one of our pieces happy. We definitely want to empower people and give them confidence and inspire them with our clothing.
L: That’s what our brand is all about, we want to inspire the underdogs and let them know you can persevere. Just like me and my brother. We have gone through hardships and put them in the past. We put our head downs and we powered through.
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
R: You’ve got to find your voice, and you’ve got to find yourself and tell your story from wherever you are. If you know your vision and you know where you want to go, then you will find whatever means necessary to get to your goal.
L: Be true to yourself and don’t follow trends. Don’t give up if someone says no to you.
Event Images – Photo credit: Louise Uwacu