About the designer: Northern Belle, a contemporary ready-to-wear brand out of Abuja, Nigeria, is owned by Salmah Ahmadu. The designer grew up painting and drawing as a past time until she realised she possessed the ability to tell stories through beautiful clothes, and ultimately, truly make a difference in women’s lives.
Speaking about her debut collection, Salmah Ahmadu reveals it was majorly inspired by her Muslim background.
“This collection is inspired by my growing up muslim in Northern Nigeria with the expectations that naturally every girl or lady lives with. I find being a ‘lady’ the closest interpretation to this age-old tradition that many of us live with.
I wasn’t allowed to talk a certain way, I always had to sit a certain way, shyness as far as growing up is involved was a virtue that girls from ‘respectable’ homes had to exude. And then traveling around the world as a young woman, socializing and coming across different cultures; especially the Western culture, I was at a loss on how to strike a balance between that which catches my fancy and what I was raised to love and cherish.”
The designer went on to explain the concept behind her collection: “Our debut collection essentially explores this thematic struggle between the things we learn as children and what we grow up seeing as adults and what we eventually take as our personal believes and standards.
Here, we tried to play with the lightness of not trying-at-all on evening wear which is fundamentally what most women lose sleep over. We tried to elevate classic silhouettes with our casual use of twist, drapery and layering to come forth with this. Although simple, we wanted each piece to exude effortless elegance and sophistication.”
What kind of woman did she have in mind when she created Northern Belle?
“The woman who this collection is designed for is most importantly a lady. She’s polite in life and poised in her doings. Despite being of a high social position, she is able to stand back from herself and become aware of the perceptions, values and beliefs around her. And she understands that a little bit of grace and a little bit of charm is in fact the canniest way to go about life,” the designer said.
See the new collection here!
Clothes: Northern Belle
Designer: Salmah Ahmadu
Photography: Terna Iwar for Bantu Studio
Creative Lead & PR: The PR Boy
Styling: Richard Akuson
Makeup and Hair: Victor Ugochukwu
Model: Ojima Atawodi for Zahara Models