The Hausas


U.Mi-1 Voyager collection is inspired by the Hausa tribe in Nigeria. Learn what makes Hausa fashion and culture fascinating.

 

The Hausa Tribe

The Voyager takes inspiration from the Hausa tribe in Nigeria. They are nomadic by nature. Although the largest communities are in Nigeria and Niger, the Hausas have settled in 8 other West African countries and are one of the largest ethnic groups in central Africa. Consequently, the largest spoken language after Arabic in the Afro-Asiatic family of languages is Hausa.

 

Hausa Fashion and Culture

The beauty and serenity of the Hausa tribe has always fascinated me. They are ruled by Sultans who put the S in swagger with their style and grace. Like the Japanese, they embrace the loose layered look. They adorn themselves in swathes of fabric, favouring gorgeous stripes worn horizontally or bright outfits with ancient traditional African patterns, in a spectacular mix of colour and pattern.

It’s been one of my favourite collections to design and cut. Transforming their style into tailored pieces was certainly technically challenging but great fun.

We shot the lookbook in Lagos. Although a winter collection, I wanted to infuse the Nigerian energy into it. Can you feel it? For example the backdrop of raffia mats, fans, basket and other props used are typical to the Hausas. These we got at my favourite market – the Lekki crafts market.

Lekki Crafts Market

Lekki market is a gem of an open air market, flanked on either side by stalls laden with jewellery, intricate wood and stone carvings. Fabrics and leather goods abound, with some goods made from alligator or snake skin made by local artisans. My favourite section displays traditional masks which legend has it still carry the potency of the masquerade that wore it. Lekki market is my go to place for high quality Hausa props which are made in the North of the country.

Fashion is changing – the way we buy, sell and market it. It is an interesting time to be in the industry. As a resut, it is in a state of flux where there are no right or wrong ways to do things. Certainly, we are experimenting. But above all, we want to stay true to our identity and hope that you follow us on this journey.

 

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