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When you think Nigerian Fashion, Abuja does not readily come to mind, simply because of how much the Lagos design scene is awash with buzz. Today we stepped out of familiar noise to bring you something fresh and exciting.

Northern Belle is an emerging upscale womenswear brand, based in Abuja and run by Salmah Ahmadu. One of Northern Belle’s many charms is the brand’s modest yet fashion-forward aesthetic.

Enjoy excerpts from her chat with Accelerate TV below:

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—-What sparked your interest in fashion?

As a little girl, I was always creative, I could draw almost anything and I remember being interested in everything grown-ups wore, especially my mum’s clothes. She always conveyed an effortlessly fashionable aura. I wanted that too. I wanted to create pieces that people will want to own and it is inspiring to see people express themselves through clothing.

 

—-Are you self-taught or did you study fashion?

I have not acquired any formal training in Fashion. You can say that I am self-taught. Every day at the atelier gives me an avenue to learn and be better at what I do. And I have also learnt a lot from watching a ton of educational how-to videos which are widely available on the internet.

 

—-How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

Over time, my designs have become more cultured. I have been experimenting with designs that are bold and a little more risque’ but my focus remains on creating looks that are simple and elegant.

 

—-What are you fascinated with at the moment and how does it feed your label?

I am and always will be fascinated with rich feeling fabrics and delicate detailing. Fabrics that have very rich texture almost always look that way. One of the rules I live by is keeping things simple. I work a lot by combining these fabrics with intricate embellishments and appliques. The trick is striking a balance between the two elements.

 

—-What made you take Fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

It’s very rare to find a career path that gives you a sense of fulfilment and takes care of the bills. With my first few happy clients, I realized right away that I was on the right path.

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—-How has Nigeria inspired your brand?

Nigeria is very diverse and the vibe that remains constant through the country is the energy, the fluid richness in each and every culture. Being from the North, I draw a lot of inspiration from the luxurious, lavish and exotic way of life of the people of the North and this has translated into me creating pieces that are simple yet very luxurious.

 

—-What has been your biggest challenge of launching your label?

One of the challenges I face as a designer is that clients don’t understand the process and effort involved in producing clothing and how that translates into process. Also, breaking into diverse markets.

 

—-What would you like to achieve before the year ends?

I would like to have a wider clientele and I would like to make my brand available in more cities.

 

—-What big collaborations should we be expecting in the next one year?

I can’t tell you anything at the moment.

See pictures below:

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Photo credit: Northern Belle

Interview by: Eromosele Patrick Eidusi

Ig : @pathrik_        T: @_pathrik

Click here to register for the Accelerate Filmmaker Project

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