Home iDecor Nigerian haute couture in the Muslim north

Nigerian haute couture in the Muslim north

Ibrahim Aminu launched his first clothing line eight years ago when he designed a dress for his sister.

Before he knew it, the orders began flooding in and House of Kaya became the first — and so far only — haute couture house in conservative, mainly Muslim northern Nigeria.

Lagos Fashion and Design Week, the annual festival which runs until Saturday, is in full swing. Champagne corks are popping, beer is flowing and Aminu’s collection stands out.

“Modest, it means they show their beauty within the limitation they have,” Aminu told AFP.

“Islam isn’t against beauty. It’s not against Islam to dress beautifully at home or at parties,” he added.

– One to watch –
Becoming a fashion designer is perhaps not the expected path for someone of the ruling northern elite, who typically travel to Dubai, Saudi Arabia or Europe to buy clothes for special occasions.

Aminu’s father is Lieutenant Colonel Abdulmumini Aminu, a former governor of the northeastern state of Borno during the time of military ruler General Ibrahim Babangida.

He was also one of three senior officers who helped Babangida come to power in a bloodless coup in 1985 by arresting the then head of the military government, Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari has been civilian president of Nigeria since 2015.

The 32-year-old Ibrahim Aminu was recently pinpointed as one of the top 10 designers to look out for at the event.

“I’ve been completely stressed the last two years but it’s fine. The dresses are ready. We just have to wait for the public reaction,” he said.

“Five years ago, the last time I counted we had 1,000 clients. Now I’ve stopped counting,” he said with disarming composure.


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