Edward Sempa: Ethical, local fashion in Kampala

Ugandan-born fashion designer Edward Sempa talks about how the fashion industry across the world is changing to suit our desire for instant gratification.

Edward Sempa designs clothing for women under his own brand Catherine & Sons, all produced locally in Kampala, Uganda. The workshop production is all up to international ethical standards, creating sustainable jobs based on local skills and supply chains. 

Sempa was born in Uganda, grew up in Sweden, studied fashion in London, England and then went on to do a masters in fashion in Italy. Coming home to Uganda to set up his own company, he emphasises that at Catherine & Sons they “think globally and act locally”. 

“I only do womenswear,” says Sempa. “I love women.”

Sempa talks about how the fashion industry across the world (including in Africa) is changing to suit the whims of the modern consumer. 

“Fashion is changing now, where the seasons don’t work anymore,” says Sempa. “The high street has taken the lead, but the luxury designers are still dragging their feet. We want things that are instant. So if I do a collection in January no-one wants to wait until July to get it, they want it now now now. I am trying to work more like if I do something in January it is available at the end of January.”