HOUSE OF KAYA DISPLAYS MUSLIM NORTHERN NIGERIAN HAUTE COUTURE AT LFDW
Wonderful news for all my fashionista Moslem sisters! House of Kaya presents couture that not only spells conservative, but oozes style and elegance too! So if you’re looking for colour, and you’re looking for a way to make a statement with your clothing while still maintaining modesty, you might want to look at Ibrahim Aminu’s pieces that were displayed on the runway on Day 2 of the 2017 Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week.
Inspired by Northern Nigeria, House of Kaya is the first and only haute couture house in conservative, mainly Muslim Northern Nigeria. Founded by 32 year old Ibrahim Aminu eight years ago, House of Kaya launched when Aminu designed a dress for his sister and he surprisingly started getting tons of orders. He was picked as one of the top 10 designers to look out for at the event.
Ibrahim Aminu said he fully and completely respects the ‘limits’ imposed on the ethnic Hausa culture in Northern Nigeria, but dismisses any criticism or teachings from religious purists.
Aminu’s collection definitely stood out on the second day of the Lagos Fashion and Design Week as House of Kaya opens up the catwalk. Designers from all over Africa have been showcasing their latest collections, and the runway has seen different designs, fabrics, cuts and styles on models as they parade.
Some of these pieces are far from being conservative and modest, which was why the House of Kaya pieces were a refreshing and welcome addition, especially for such people that reside in regions in Nigeria where Islamic law is practiced alongside state and federal justice, and women dress “modestly”.
“Everyone has their own limitation of modesty: for some women it can be a mini-short, some can’t wear dresses about their knees, some want to cover their arms… Modest, it means they show their beauty within the limitation they have,” Aminu told AFP.
Models for House of Kaya were seen in long flowing Hausa dresses. “I used ankara in the new collection,” Aminu explained. “And they (the models) don’t wear the Islamic veils, they wear ‘gele’ (Yoruba women’s head ties) to cover their hair.”
Despite Aminu’s background and upbringing, the designer said he doesn’t like being classified and referred to as a designer that does “Islamic fashion”. He said, “I don’t want to be put in a box. Who says that as Muslims we can’t wear Christian clothes? And why Christians wouldn’t wear a veil once in a while, if it’s fashionable?”
Ibrahim Aminu also pointed out the fact that Nigerian men wear traditional Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo outfits, regardless of their ethnicity, and he hopes to be the one to allow women to do the same.
The House of Kaya collection pieces on the LFDW runway this year had simple designs, a mix of colourful fabrics, including Ankara. The pieces included kaftans and gowns – free flowing ones, some with embellishments and others with ruffles, print details and belts.
As the models sashayed on the runway with these modest pieces and their different kinds of head wraps, the atmosphere was set with an up tempo northern soundtrack.
See some of the House of Kaya creations below:
Image credit: Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week