Gusa by Victoria
  • 7 E MARKET STREET YORK PA 17401
  • 717.814.8608

What Masks & Community Mean

Writer Rachel Curry
Photographer Gusa by Victoria

What Masks & Community Mean to Designer Victoria Kageni-Woodard

Q: WHAT WAS GUSA BY VICTORIA’S MAIN FOCUS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC?
A: Ready-to-wear women’s clothing. Specifically, because of my heritage—I’m originally from Kenya—I try to incorporate fabric from home and mix it up with the Western silhouette.

Q: HOW DID YOU MOVE INTO THE MASK-MAKING WORLD?
A: All of a sudden, things just shifted, and it felt very strange for me to want to continue pushing my product to people when some are laid off, some lost their jobs. Things are just different.

Q: HAS IT BEEN FUN FOR YOU TO TOY WITH AN ACCESSORY THAT DIDN’T EXIST IN THIS COUNTRY LAST YEAR?
A: It has been, especially when people come to me and don’t want it to just be a plain thing. I’ve had a chance to use my African fabrics and people like that. It keeps changing, which makes it bearable for me because it’s tedious. Every once in a while, I break away from it and I’ll take on a customer who wants something. It keeps me grounded.

Q: SOME OF YOUR PRODUCTS DO MORE THAN LOOK GOOD. THEY SPEAK OUT. WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO USE YOUR PLATFORM TO HIGHLIGHT SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES?
A: I want to remain connected to the community. I’ve also got children and the Black and Brown population is always at risk. You don’t know what’s going to happen when somebody’s walking down the street. This is my way of trying to keep the community engaged.

Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY FUTURE COLLECTIONS IN THE WORKS?
A: I’m working on a Fall collection for next year. It’s sustainable, with bamboo fabric and sisal wool. That’s the direction I’m going.

Downtown York Perspecties:

How do you feel supported by the York community this year?
“The community has supported my efforts in serving them with facial coverings by encouraging me to stay the course especially when I was faced with backlash from those who don’t believe there is a pandemic, to begin with. That support presented itself through many customers and the opportunity to provide smile masks for the YWCA caregiver staff members.”
– Victoria Kageni-Woodard, Owner, Gusa by Victoria

Gusa by Victoria
  • 7 E MARKET STREET YORK PA 17401
  • 717.814.8608