Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Interview with handbag designer Amina Hassan

Hello everyone,
I hope all of you are having a very nice day. For those of you don t know me I got to tell you something about myself. Like maybe most women I am obsessed with handbags and today I have the pleasure to introduce you one of my favorite african accessory designer her name is Amina Hassan From Nigeria. I had the pleasure to ask her some questions recently . she is extremely talented and the designer to look for in the caming years.
Enjoy the Interview!!!!!!

Ciaa: what is the concept behind your designs?
Amina: Passion and a lot of work! But first, function. In other words what will the proposed bag be used for? Shape, structure are drawn out and a plan for materials to be used in terms of accessories, dye colour is done. Next work flow to determine step by step of putting the bag together then prototype is made following the work flow, corrections and alterations if any need be are made and then work starts on the bag.

Ciaa:What is the fashion mood in Nigeria Now?
Amina:Like everything else there is a new and strong positive feeling about all things Nigerian. The fashion industry is yet to break out fully to other markets but a lot of inroads have been made with combining Western design and our local ethnic design which is what we are doing at Gidan Nodza only we have a much more comprehensive approach.

Ciaa:What is the concept / idea behind handbags?
Amina:I think if you take the aforementioned answer regarding the combining of East and West you may begin to see the concept behind our bags but to be a little more detailed we are able to understand that in African design pictorial, graphic and other symbols are generally used to adorn things from houses to skin and whatever you will find. In other ethnic cultures this exists as well perhaps not as prominently. The use of these pictorial motifs on our handbags and other items is used to enhance the mood, feel and visual impact of the bag or item in question and sometimes these factors play a role even in the naming of the bags.

Ciaa:There are a lot of successful Nigerian clothing designers now , what made you decide to take the other path as an accessory designer
Amina:Gidan Nodza has been a long and personal quest for self expression going through different materials and producing so many different things but on finding there was a way to control the entire process of designing and making handbags to a point where they are art. I felt fulfilled, found a niche and now developing a market base.

Ciaa :What are some of the challenges that you are encountering as a designer in Africa ?
Amina :Securing materials and other resources for making the items, challenges with promoting the brand, and the painful fact that many Nigerians still elevate established Western designers and their products above the local ones.

Ciaa: Can Please complete the rest of this sentence : Africa is………..?
Amina:Africa is the font of humanity

Ciaa:Describe your clientele. What kind of women carry Gidan Nodza handbag?
Amina: Women and men too from all works of life between the ages of 15 - 75.

Ciaa Where can our readers reach you to purchase your handbags?
Amina:View and shop for Gidan Nodza bags at houseofnodza.blogspot.com, gidannodza.etsy.com or write me at houseofnodza@gmail.com.

Ciaa:Who are your African favorite designers?
Amina: Ituen Basi , Maufechi, Urban Knit

Ciaa: As I have told you before most Parents In Africa do not support their kids who wants follow their Dreams in design, How supportive are your family and friends in your adventure?
Amina:I must give it to my family... they have indulged and encouraged my creative side (which comes in different phases) since for ever and with Gidan Nodza my family looked at it as another phase that will pass but they have been incredibly supportive when they have now realised that this is more than a hobby, they are my critics, customers and structure... although my mum still misses a breath whenever I mention that I intend to leave my day job soon for Gidan Nodza.

Ciaa: What do you hope to achieve with your handbag designs?
Amina:Fame and fortune as well as a shift in overall design appreciation to forge new understanding about the points where art meets crafts.

Ciaa:How are hard is it for you to Joggle between your day to day work and following your dreams at the same time
Amina:Extremely difficult but I keep my eye on the ball knowing the only way to break free is to work hard and get my feet strongly on the ground.

Ciaa:Any advice for our Ciaafrique readers, wishing to follow your footsteps?
Amina:Believe in what you love and work hard at/for it, don't let people tell you it cannot be done!

Ciaa:What can we expect from you in the next 5 years or so ?
Amina:Dominance of the local market, presence in the international market.

Ciaa:Thank you so much for your time and we cannot wait to see more
from you
Amina: Thank you to you Ciaa!!!


  1. I felt in love with these bags, I am shoe and bag addict, i'll definitly stop by her websites to look at prices, thanks for the info Ciaa.

  2. Those handbags are really hot! I need to to won one like now! Great job Amina

  3. Hey Ciaa,
    You said you were gonna and you did...yaaaaaaay!!! Thanks for the feature... I love it I love it I love it. Take care.

  4. Thanks to all of you for your comments . I believe that great talent should be reconized and Amina is a great talent from Africa!!!!!
    Love XOXO

  5. yeah, the bags look really amazing. i want to own some. Good luck, Amina.


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