At 15-years-old, Sarah Nakintu would go hunting for weekend outfits among the open-air stalls of Owino, Kampala’s secondhand clothing market. Dressed in school uniforms and with an allowance from her father in hand, she and her girlfriends would comb through the stalls for designer denim. But good fashion is never straightforward.
“The funny thing is there was a stigma around going to the secondhand market because it meant that you didn’t really have money to buy things on High Street,” Sarah says. “We were browsing, like really excited to be there, and we saw these boys from our school and we dived and tried to hide because it was embarrassing to go there.”
Her most-prized purchase from Owino was a 90s-era Coach purse. Although Sarah admits she wasn’t aware of the luxury handbag line until she relocated to NYC in 2005. She recalls when a stranger stopped her on the street to enquire about where her bag was from, and was shocked to learn it was from Uganda.
“The person was like, ‘What? Do you know this is a Coach bag?’ I’m like, ‘What is Coach? I don’t know,’” Nakintu explains.
Today, Nakintu designs her own line of luxury handbags. When I met her at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan she wore a white, honeycomb-mesh bomber jacket from Beyoncé’s Ivy Park line, a magnificent Afro and Stila-ruby-rouged lips.
Sarah was born and raised in Uganda and currently resides in New York City. She migrated to the United States in 2005 where she attended Columbia University in New York. She’s worked in a range of different industries including: fashion, technology, and development (United Nations). Her early career and extensive travel around the world resulted in a passion for building a sustainable global brand that she named Kintu New York. The brand is named after her father, inspired by her African heritage, global experiences and the street fashion of New York City.