Fashion Designer/ CEO of Belange Handmade LLC (www.shopbhm.com)
Belange Mutunda attended DMACC from 2016-2018 where she earned her AAS in Fashion Design and Merchandising, coupled with some business, marketing and interior design courses. After graduating, Belange transferred to Iowa State University to continue to learn the skills needed to be a successful fashion designer. She entered their Apparel Merchandising & Design program and continues to focus on a degree in Creative and Technical Design. In addition to being a full-time student, she has made time to run her own fashion business, be a teaching assistant, and give back to the community.
During her time at DMACC, Belange traveled to New York City for a weeklong study tour. “The New York City study tour was one of the things that stands out as the most memorable experiences at DMACC" says Belange. It was here that she was able to meet Thijin Bol, an EMG model, who has been a standing cast member on Project Runway. Bol even wore one of her African print dresses on episode 12, season 17. (Check out the clip here)
Belange has always been a proactive person and she isn't afraid to take risks. She has competed in numerous start-up and entrepreneurial competitions, and won! In 2019, she showcased her collection at the “RAW Hollywood presents impact 2019" show. Later that year, she showcased her first evening gown collection at Des Moines Fashion Week.
She was also one of 13 contestants to be awarded a grant for her small business, Belange Handmade LLC, through The Great Iowa State Pitch Off. At this event she won the Social/ Civil Award and received $2500 for her business, that she started at the age of 17. She also competed in another pitch-off for entrepreneurs at Iowa State University where she was runner up and received a $250 grant.
This money helped her to start a non-profit organization called the BHM Foundation, that aims to provide reusable menstrual pads to women and young girls in need. She calls the pad “eve" and created it after developing and testing several prototypes over the last three years. Today, she distributes the pads in the United States and Africa.
Learn more about this project here.
Oh, and we're not done talking about this amazing woman!
She has been a guest speaker at the Iowa State University Women's Entrepreneurship Week conference, where she was able to share her journey in fashion design and business.
Applied for The Fashion Scholarship Fund – Case Study, where she won in the design category, and received a $5000 grant. This opportunity allowed her to travel New York City and attend their annual gala. While at the Gala, Belange met one of her biggest inspirations, celebrity designer Brandon Maxwell.
When asked about her experience in DMACC Fashion Program, Belange said; “Overall, I had an amazing collegiate experience at DMACC because my professors became good friends and are like family to me today. Attending DMACC also made me have a very smooth transition to Iowa State University."
at DMACC because my professors became good friends and are like family to me today.  Attending DMACC also made me have a very smooth transition to Iowa State University."<br/></p>