By Alex Balimwikungu
City Lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde was in September last year trending all over different social media platforms. This was not because because of his spiky dreadlocks but his outfit that he wore while appearing in one of the court sessions.
When many posted the photo praising the young and vibrant lawyer over his confidence and sense of style, they forgot the person behind his outfit.
Monica Khatokho a fashion designer and founder of Khatz Moniq Apparel , a fashion house is the one behind two trending photos of lawyer Ssemakade. The first being the one in court and the one coming the next month on Independence Day.
On October 9th last year, Ssemakadde appeared in a photoshoot dressed in an outfit that were designed in the Ugandan flag colours and the other person in the photo with her was the designer of the outfit Khatokho.
Speaking to the designer, she said although she never attended law school with Ssemakadde but as lawyers, they somehow connected and became friends. She reveals that besides graduating from law school, her passion has always been fashion. To follow up on it, she enrolled in a fashion school called Dyna Vence school of fashion in Kampala.
Growing up, Khatokho says she was a big fan of good music and of late, her best International artiste comes from Nigeria and he is called Ric Hassani. “Ric Hassani is one of my favourite artistes and I am glad that I searched him up and made him my close friend” Khatokho said.
She went on and said that her birthday which falls on every January 6th happened to be the same date her favourite artiste was born and to celebrate the day, she decided to design an outfit for herself and another one which she delivered to the artiste in Nigeria. ” The connection was aligned by God.I was following him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He followed me back on Twitter and that is where everything i had dreamed of came to reality,” she beams.
According to Khatokho, she designed for herself a custom made gown with zebra prints and actually looked like a zebra and for the Nigerian star, she made a tailored suit with a shirt that has “stylish” zebras printed on it. Khatokho says she prefers the Zebra print on most of her outfits because it connects with her rare and unique illness that she got in 2016 and the same illness that inspired her into starting the clothing brand.
The Zebras on his shirt happen to be registered trademark of the Fashion house and the same stylish zebras that appear on Ric Hassani’s shirt also appear on Monica’s gown. In her fashion language, Khatokho defines her outfit as a seven in one while Ric Hassani’s is a kaftan with his face hand painted on by a Ugandan artist known as JK Jaymore. Ric also wore a tracksuit with Kikoyi details on the sides.
Khatokho’s fashion house was inspired by her illness that she prefers to call rare and unique.
“In 2016, I was diagnosed with a rare condition known as Cushing’s syndrome and during different operations, the illness left her with a scar on the belly, big cheeks and rounded face” Khatokho says.
She also says that the slogan of her clothing line is inspired by her rare and unique disease so she also refers to her collections as rare and unique. The fashion store that she started together with her friend Peace Mwambukya started as a luxurious fashion house but later she reflected back to her life and the illness she went through but later realized the need to create awareness of all rare diseases using the fashion background.
One of the major aims of the fashion house is to bring a difference in the world through creating awareness, fighting stigma attached to scars and physical attributes brought about by rare and unique diseases.