Pair's design skills for Africa

Last updated 05:00 23/01/2013
Marly Doyle and Bridget Nicholas

INTO AFRICA: Bridget Nicholas, left and Marly Doyle are heading to Jinja, Uganda, to work with Matooke Design, which helps support the local community by providing sustainable income and vocational skills.

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Two Wellingtonians are planning to use their tailoring and pattern-making skills to help fashion entrepreneurs in Uganda.

Marly Doyle, 31, and Bridget Nicholas, 24 are planning to spend three and six months respectively working with Matooke Design, a small design business based in Jinja, the second biggest town in Uganda.

The business was set up to give practical vocational training in creative industries such as textiles, fashion and jewellery making, and allow those involved to become self-sufficient.

Ms Doyle, who studied design, is planning to use her knowledge of pattern-making and fashion to help the company become more efficient.

She most recently worked in costume breakdown on The Hobbi trilogy, where she got to make costumes muddy, ripped and bloody for battle scenes. Other experience includes making jewellery, a big part of Matooke Design, in which paper is used to create colourful beads.

Ms Doyle says the company has begun selling internationally, and she wants to help it put processes in place to regulate size and shape, so the necklaces can be created efficiently. ''It's about basic things like standardising the way something is cut out and teaching them how to use tools they may not have access to, like specific equipment for pattern-making.''

Ms Nicholas has been studying design and textiles at Massey University and sells her vintage craft creations on

She hopes to learn as much from the Ugandan people as she teaches them. ''I will share what I believe in about design ... it's a really exciting opportunity.''

Their trips will cost about $8000 each, so the pair have been fundraising through crowd sourcing website Pledge Me. They hope to raise the first sum before the end of the month to allow Ms Nicholas to travel first, with Ms Doyle hoping to arrive in April.


Find out more about their plan at their Facebook page.

Contact Sophie Speer
Culture and Capital Day reporter
Twitter: @sophie_speer

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- The Dominion Post


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