Meeting her on the terrace of her home studio is truly visiting Rio de Janeiro on the banks of the Congo River! In spite of the stress of Covid-19 which is hitting Kinshasa again, the pretty Brazilian is always enthusiastic and you can guess her infectious laughter under her mask made of wax fabric. Hamaji followed her to one of her favorite spots, the fabric market facing the river.
Born in Guaxupé, Rita has been sewing since she was a child. She first started sewing dresses for her dolls and then for her own clothes and carnival disguises, convinced that one day she will be a stylist. She used to draw and her best friend used to sew. At the age of 14, with Catholic sisters, Rita trained in a sewing workshop. Passionate, she perfected her cutting techniques in a correspondence course from San Paulo. After studying accounting, she worked in human resources.
In 2000, she married a man from Toulouse and went to live with him in Buenos Aires. Rita, now Rita Cazergues, followed her husband who was transfer red to Angola in Luanda. She did not suspect that she would make two encounters that would be decisive for the future.
She discovered wax and meets a Congolese fashion designer who had taken refuge in Luanda. He had no job, she gives him a studio in her house and buys a sewing machine to start their collaboration. New design, first dress for a civil wedding, the pregnant bride did not fit anymore in her first purchase and… it’s an immediate success!
A couple of years later, her is offered a new professional opportunity in Congo. Kin-labelle, dazzles her immediately with its fabric stores and its port market. “All the women in the market know me, I spend a lot of time looking for new ideas and new fabrics. Right now, they all know that I love wax with animal motifs”.
Passing on her know-how
In spite of her growing fame and her many commitments including Pullman fashion shows for Vlisco among others, Rita is a fashion designer who loves, above all, to help and train people. “I work on a small scale and I use my knowledge of Lingala to discuss with my teams. I am of mixed race like many.
Brazilians and carry in my heart this idea of cultural mixing. This is reflected in my creations, because I mix Brazilian, European and African styles and tones for all skin colours.
Look: a Congolese woman, a Spanish woman and a Brazilian woman with the same dress, a mix of cotton, wax and silk, I love it!”.