The Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) together with the textile and manufacturing conference which held recently in Lagos is one of few acclaimed opportunities for budding designers to showcase their creations in the country. Farida Musa Halliru, an Abuja based Fashion entrepreneur, whose unique creations also feature hand painted Northern Architecture and Henna illustrations was one of the 55 designers at AFWN 2016.
Farida Musa Halliru is a graduate of Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – Kaduna and a beneficiary of the Tony Elemelu 2015 Entrepreneurship programme. This award-winning emerging African fashion designer, who comes from Kano state said, “Tailoring should complement a woman’s body to accentuate her unique features.”
In an interview with cp-africa.com, she states that lackluster attitude to women’s fashion as among the reasons she delved into the industry. “My decision was mostly from tailor’s lack of craftsmanship and dedication, there was little or no professionalism and integrity in their work. This is something a lot of people and I personally have experienced. Also flipping through African magazines and seeing the unflattering outfits some women wear that they label as the latest ‘fashion trend’ makes me feel sad,” she said.
Halliru, who has set up shop in Abuja, FCT notes that her passion for designing started at an early age. She describes that as a teenager she would sketch designs for her own pleasure, and revamp old clothes. Presumably, this spurred her decision to pursue further opportunities in fashion by attending a fashion design and garment construction course at the Fashion Academy in Abuja graduating in September 2012.
After the rigours of planning on an appropriate business model, she launched ‘Farida Atelier’ in July 2013, with the focus on rendering made to measure and couture clothing services. She further propelled her line by showcasing at the Tozali magazine Henna Ball, where she took home the 2014 Fashion designer of the year award.
Farida’s designs are African inspired with Western aesthetics. She expressed that when designing she puts the African modern woman in mind and focuses on designs that are flattering to the real woman’s body. Her knowledge of garments proper fit and design, combined with thoughtful creative abilities has produced unique and wearable outfits which mirrors the ideals of strong, beautiful, cultured, and modest women.
Aside local accolades, she has also been named the “Emerging African Fashion designer 2014” at The Voice Achievers Awards in Amsterdam, alongside participating at the Africa Fashion week London in August 2015 at the Olympia Centre where her creation was used for an editorial in the 2015 December issue of UK Vogue magazine.
As she reflected on the journey to date, Halliru expressed that her designs are inspired by prints, shape, colour, objects and nature. In an interview, she details that perseverance and a passion for your craft were driving forces in her ambition for success. “After completing the course, I registered my company business name. I really didn’t have enough money to set up the business so I tried looking at getting funding from the government and banks, but all seemed to no avail. That is when my family came in. My parents and siblings, everyone chipped in and I got the loan from them to start up a small workshop.”
She added, “Sincerely, “since I started, no matter how tough and difficult the situation gets in the business I have never for once felt like giving up on it. My passion in fashion was something I was born with so the drive was there. I have always been a smart business woman, coupled with my training in customer care and better understanding of a client.”
Though she had a modest start with a small workshop created behind her apartment, she has since evolved to a decent sized commercial outfit in Abuja, and states she has been lucky to repay loved ones who invested in her start-up.
Farida Atelier’s 2016 collection was inspired by Africa’s heritage and Natures beauty. “I want Farida Atelier to go in history as one of the African fashion houses to take African fashion worldwide,” she said. She has received a number of invitations from shows all over Europe, the Middle East and the U.S to showcase her designs and was recently invited to the Vancouver Fashion week 2016 in the company of an invitation from UK Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle magazine to participate in the upcoming Fall/Winter 2016 showcase.