BANA THE BRAND
DALIYAH Designs in two words is Mohamed Bana- the company has now been rebranded to Bana the Brand.
“Fashion has always been my passion”
With no formal training initially, he did some classes on tailoring and designing. Since childhood, he has always been interested in fabrics, colors and took over as “interior designer” of his parent’s home. Thankfully, he had open-minded parents who allowed him to decorate their home and so build him as a designer.
His first designing experience was primarily centered on bags for women, and a few for the men. This is how he started being more fashion oriented and appreciating designer clothes. He also ensured he attended fashion shows and gala events where he began to meet other fellow designers and so be inspired. That was the moment he knew that fashion designing was where he was meant to be.
Daliyah Designs (and now Bana the Brand) was formally created in 2007. Daliyah, which means grape vine in Arabic, was chosen to represent his goal with his brand- wanting to spread all over and be an influence and grow.
His inspirations are from nature and color which resonate in his collections. The dress below is from Swahili Fashion Week 2012 and demonstrates his love for color.
He also strives to make high-end clothes at a reasonable price. In the course of the year, Bana has up to four collections covering casual wear, high end, evening wear and couture.
Designers always have some source of inspiration. For Bana, this is Mombasa. “I get my inspiration from attending events and seeing the trends but also from taking a short to trip to Mombasa. The water and the ocean helps me to think and get some inspiration,” he says laughing. We would also agree that the beach can be quite inspiring.
On 25 August 2013, Bana presented his collection in Nairobi Fashion Week which was a fusion of African and indian concepts and material blends. He loves using indian material but for special dresses as its quite time consuming: the beading of one dress done by hand can take a week to two. He also loves kitenge and lessos which are like cotton materials, easy to wash and wear.
Bana, when asked about his views on the Kenyan fashion industry had this to say: “Kenya has really grown, people appreciate fashion even local designers. You see very nice kitenge cut dresses, shoes.”
“ I am really grateful to Kenyans that they have started to appreciate designer wear. The fashion industry is at the peak. People should continue and support local brands”
In his view, Gikomba is practically an affordable outlet for the middle and lower class to buy clothes. He compares how in Gikomba you can get a jacket for 200 Kenya Shillings (Ksh) whereas he would not sell a jacket for 200 Ksh simply because of the cost of production locally. This is an important consideration for us to grasp- the cost of production and the resulting price tag. “We do understand that there will always be the high end designers whose price range will be restrictive in terms of clients. But we also believe that there should be a middle ground where at least 60 percent of the population can afford to buy local made goods.”
Bana believes that the government should step in, in this instance, to assist in mass-producing which would reduce the price of the goods substantively. Thankfully there is a significant interest in the Kenyan fashion industry so perhaps the relevant parties will be stirred in the right direction.
SOME OF HIS DESIGNS
HIS PARTING SHOT
“I would advise [upcoming designers] not to give up…it’s a tough market.” He explains that the cost implications and tapping into the industry is difficult but it takes persistence and hard work to survive.
“To be very open-minded, the industry can be rough, try to know your clientele.”
Lucy Rao, Sonu Sharma “Just Like That Ltd”, Kiko Romeo, Shenu Hooda (Pakistani blend with African pieces), John Kaveke for men’s clothing, Nick Ondu and Ally Rehmtuallah from Tanzania are some of the people who inspire him. Ally Rehmtuallah was actually the main influence to getting Bana into designing and has remained an inspiration ever since.
How can you find him: