Elie A. Bishikwabo : Congolese fashion designer, entrepreneur, and the founder of Bantu Kingdom Foundation



A Congolese fashion designer, entrepreneur, and the founder of Bantu
Kingdom Foundation resides in Palmer, Alaska, with his wife. He was born in 1996 during a time of civil war and grew up in Bukavu, South Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo as the son of a Christian pastor father and a seamstress mother.

Elie is one of eight siblings in a family well-known for their fierce faith and artistry as painters, craftsmen, and tailors.

His introduction to fashion came from the training he received from his mother in the sewing shop attached to their home.

Elie Aganze made his debut into fashion design in 2009. He needed a school bag, but the family could not afford to purchase one. Recalling a Swahili saying - njala ina fundisha kukula - which means “starvation teaches you to eat,” he had the novel idea to create a backpack out of a pair of denim pants.

This amazed his fellow classmates who commissioned him to design more backpacks for them.

Elie Aganze transformed from a simple tailor who sewed clothes and small bags for his friends to a highly sought-after artisan who crafted leather shoes and created custom-ordered furniture.

Elie graduated from secondary studies in 2016 and moved to Uganda to further develop his skill and expertise. He enrolled in Kampala University to study Industrial Arts and Design which opened the door to the world of fashion design. He distinguished himself, winning both the Institutional Fashion Tour trophy in a Ugandan universities-facilitated fashion competition and first place in the African Dreams Art competition which was organized in Paris.

These achievements marked the beginning of Elie Aganze’s professional career. He displayed his fashions alongside the big names in style and fashion in Kampala and worked for various clothing brands. In December 2017, Elie participated in the Pearl of Africa Fashion Awards and MADZ Company Fashion Show. In 2018, he participated in Steevz K Fashion Week, for the African Realist Model TV Show Launch.

He was invited to Kinshasa to exhibit his collection at Kinshasa’s Toza Fier
fashion show for the disabled, sponsored by Monusco.

He displayed his fashions in Smafa, the Sudanese Fashion Show in Uganda, and in June of the same year, at the Kigali Fashion Week in
Throughout his career, he enjoyed the support of his family and in 2019, Elie returned to Congo to head the family business, Bishikwabo Arts & Couture (BAC), a clothing brand and arts association formed with his brothers in 2012.

They opened a studio and two fashion shops in Bukavu Town, offering training and job opportunities to other young artists.   

Elie released several fashion collections through BAC sponsored fashion events and continued to participate in local shows.

His desire to create fashion for the kings in Congo and to awaken identity and to
encourage faith within local communities led him to organize Bantu Kingdom, a foundation that seeks to empower his people through the celebration of arts and culture. Elie Aganze’s name proclaims “glory to God” and his passion is to see the people of Congo transformed and to create a brand that clothes people with dignity and beauty.

I am innately drawn to create, to capture the wonder and intricate beauty of the culture and world around me.
I am distinguished as an artist in my dedication to detail and my passion to create the extraordinary. I am not limited by known solutions in the challenges of creating individualistic designs

-Trend alaska fashoin show Anchorage (AK, USA)

-The One Fashion Week Bukavu (DR Congo)
-Kigali Fashion week (Rwanda)
-Kinshasa Toza Fier Handicaps Fashion show (DRC)
-Pearl of Africa Fashion Awards (Uganda) and more...

2018: The Afro Pepites Show by the African
Dream (France)
2017: Urban Street Fashion Week (Uganda)

French, English, Swahili, Lingala and other
African dialects.

Leadership, Clothing Design, Tailoring,
Fashion Drawing, Carpentry, painting,