Sue Ochola is both smart and passionate. She loves art and is a well-known fashion designer, but she also knows a lot about champagne. The 41-year-old woman who used to be Miss Kampala in 1997 is doing all three of her favorite things at Casa De Roy.
In the Seventh Street Industrial Area of Kampala, there is a warehouse that looks as gray and impersonal from the outside as the other buildings around it. But when you walk in, it’s not the heavy machinery or industrial machines that catch your eye. Casa de Roy, the first Champagne bar in Uganda, is in a simple building on Plot 110.
On the outside, it doesn’t look like much, but the inside is beautiful and warm. When you walk into the room, it feels like you’re in an art gallery.
Everything in the room is art, from the walls to the furniture to the carpet. The bar stools, the way the champagne bottles are displayed, the area for people who like champagne, and even the lights on the ceiling and walls are all artistic. The atmosphere gives off a sense of originality and style.
Ochola says, “My husband and I fell in love because we both liked art.” “We met in 1999, and I soon found out that he was an art collector who was mostly interested in pieces from Congo, Nigeria, Cuba, and a few other African countries. It turned out that I also loved this kind of art. When we got married, we started buying art together, and some of it is shown here.
Fashion And Design Are Influenced By Art
Ochola’s love of art shows through her clothes, which are mostly made of African fabric. It wouldn’t be enough to say that Ochola is a great designer. Everything about it shows that it was made by someone with a creative mind. The colors, the patterns, the carefully chosen materials, and the rare patterns all show that. Dresses, tops, shorts, and blouses are all of the highest quality.
“This is not kitenge for big mamas, as has always been the case in Uganda. No one told people that they could only wear kitenge to funerals and traditional ceremonies. This is kitenge for the 21st century. It’s a dress for people with style. It’s the kind you wear to work, even to the most important business meeting.”
Since almost 20 years ago, Ochola has been making her own clothes. “Ever since I can remember, I would plan the outfit and take it to a tailor to be made. I decided early last year to start designing for the public, so I did. Last August, at the UK Kitenge Festival, I showed my work for the first time.
She says that her aunt, who owned a clothes store on Kampala Road when they were kids, was an inspiration. “I was always helping out in her shop, and I was slowly becoming interested in fashion. Then, one day in 1997, she asked me to get ready for Miss Kampala and run for the title. At first, I wasn’t sure if this was for me because dark-skinned girls weren’t thought to be attractive at the time. And my skin was very dark. But because she told me to, I entered the contest and won. All of a sudden, I became very interested in fashion.”
Most people know boudoir Casa De Roy as a place to drink champagne, however. And if you look more closely, you’ll see that she is just as passionate about the bar as she is about her fashion and art collecting businesses. Ochola loves champagne more than anyone else I know. One of the 10 brands of champagne sold here, S.A. de Roy, is one that she made herself.
“I’ve loved champagne for almost my whole life, and I’ve always wanted to make my own brand of sparkling wine. So I got up one day and went to South Africa to look for a favorite vineyard. I went from one vineyard to another looking for champagne that was a certain color and had a certain amount of sugar until I found the right one in Durbanville, Western Cape. S.A. De Roy Champagne was born in 2014.
Ochola says that her drink is the only one of its kind in Uganda, and the Kampala Serena Hotel is one of her biggest customers. She says that she sent the brand to people who like champagne in the UK and the US, and they gave her very positive feedback. The branding is classic royalty, which is what ads and branding for champagne have always done for hundreds of years. It has the well-known mask of Queen Idia of Benin, who lived in the 1600s.
“I’m on a mission to improve the way people live in Kampala. We don’t have to wait for something big to happen before we pop the champagne. We need to start living well in Kampala. We should drink champagne like we drink beer. Life is meant to be lived.”
By June of this year, Casa De Roy will have all 10 of the world’s best-known Champagne brands.
S.A. de Roy: Ochola’s Sparkling Wine Is One Of A Kind
Sue Ochola de Roy made S.A. de Roy, a sparkling wine, in 2014 after looking for the perfect vineyard in South Africa. In Durbanville, Western Cape, she found one. The mask of Queen Idia of Benin, who lived in the 1600s, is used as the wine’s brand.
Boudoir Casa de Roy: Artistic Lounge
Both Ochola de Roy and her husband buy art. Their collection is shown in their lounge, which is called Casa de Roy and is a place for art lovers. The couple buys pieces of art from all over Africa. Everything in their art gallery/Champagne bar is a piece of art.
Kitenge Designs: Designer Par Excellence
When she got out of school, Ochola went to work in her aunt’s shop. There, she was inspired to start making her own clothes. Since she was 20, she has been making her own clothes. At the UK Kitenge Festival the year before, she showed off her new line.
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