By British Council Nigeria

09 December 2019 - 17:10

Thanks to you Ibrahim Aminu, a participant in the British Council’s Fashion DNA programme in 2015, is now the founder and lead designer at House of Kaya, the first haute couture house in conservative, mainly Muslim northern Nigeria.

Ibrahim Aminu took part in the British Council’s 2015 – 2016 Fashion DNA series, a major season of arts work in Nigeria aimed at building new audiences, creating new collaborations and strengthening relationships organised by the British Council. 

The Fashion DNA programme was designed to upskill young fashion entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35. It was delivered in partnership with the Lagos Fashion and Design Week and facilitated by the renowned UK and Nigerian stylists, photographers and designers.

Fashion DNA proved to be a launchpad for Ibrahim. Ibrahim Aminu launched his first clothing line when he designed a dress for his sister. Aminu said he respects to the last inch the "limits" imposed by the ethnic Hausa culture in northern Nigeria but dismisses any criticism or teachings from religious purists.

"Islam isn't against beauty. It's not against Islam to dress beautifully at home or at parties," he added.

Ibrahim hopes to be the one to allow women to do the same and export his collection to Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Europe to fulfil his teenage dream of becoming Nigeria's youngest billionaire. His business currently employs some 50 people and he has founded an academy to train young designers in Kaduna.

He also wants to dress Jordan's Queen Rania.

As someone born in Kaduna, he has seen the local textile industry decline, as huge factories failed to survive constant power shortages and competition from China.

"We want a lot of people to work in fashion in the north, it can employ a lot of people and there is a huge market there," he adds.