Ruth Chirwa of Upile Designs is one of the budding physically challenged fashion designers based in Mzuzu. She has defied all odds within a short period of time with her enormous contribution to the fashion world that physical disability is not a benchmark to stop anyone from pursuing any career of their choice.
Her dream was to become a pilot but due to financial difficulties, she ended up studying a fashion designing course.
“I started my journey at Miracle Technical Institute in Karonga where the zeal developed to be courageous enough if I was to enjoy phenomenal success with the fashion path I had undertaken, “she said.
Currently, Ruth is perfecting her designing antics at Sozo Fashion Academy in the evergreen city of Mzuzu and was also quick to point out that she never drew inspiration from anyone to venture into the field.
“Nothing really inspired me into fashion designing industry, but since money was a problem to pay for a course in piloting, the only assistance that was offered by a well-wisher was that of fees to start a fashion designing course, so as you can see, I had no option,” she explained.
But since success is fuelled by passion, Chirwa’s obsession with fashion and designing has grown stronger as she aims to reach greater heights as a fashion designer.
“Right now, I am very passionate about my career and I enjoy it very much and it is in this line of thought why am still harboring ambitions to go further with my education in fashion and designing.” she said.
Surely, her fashion journey is promising as she was the only physically challenged fashion designer from Mzuzu to be part of the first of its kind show dubbed All Shades of Beautiful Fashion Show which gave a platform for physically challenged fashion designers and models to showcase their talents held in Blantyre last year at Amaryllis Hotel.
“It was like a dream come true because I have been looking forward to have this kind of opportunity to showcase my talent to the world and be exposed to a lot of things and gain customers too,” she said.
Ruth further said she was really excited and was looking forward to meeting a lot of people as the gesture had her jaws dropping that she was seeing light at the end of a tunnel.
“My participation in the All Shades of Beautiful Fashion Show in Blantyre is a milestone to me and I did not take it for granted to be the only physically challenged designer chosen from Mzuzu to exhibit my work at such a big event, “she said.
On her achievements so far, she humbly said she can’t attribute much accolade to her name as she regards herself to be in the learning process but was happy that as a student she is still able to produce competitive outfits with well established designers and people are liking them.
Being a physically challenged person, stereotype has been one of the challenges that Ruth has encountered as some people tend to view a person with disability as someone who cannot achieve anything in life.
“I have met some people who had looked down upon me and developed a bad attitude towards my work just because I use a wheelchair. But this doesn’t prevent me from perfectly doing what I know best,” she said.
She firmly advises that nobody should look down upon themselves. One just have to discover their skill and concentrate on it as everything is possible with God.
In the fashion world, Ruth looks up to Lilly Alfonso, Xandria, and Kondwani Phiri as people that inspire her ever since she became passionate about the profession.
“My future plans are to further my career and be one of the respected and known designers not only in Malawi but in Africa and also in the whole world,” she said.