If you’re looking for a mature, chic and fashionable brand then look no further than Aulgah Nato. The brand has been all over the Nairobi Fashion scene, making an outstanding appearance at Tribal Chic 2023 which had Susan Kaitanny from The Real Housewives of Nairobi, opening the show. We couldn’t resist taking a moment to talk to designer and Multi Award winner, Aulgah of Aulgah Nato, to give you a look inside the mind behind the breathtaking creations. She has had the brand up and running for 7, almost 8 years.
Aulgah began her brand by first having her sister send her clothes while she was abroad. This turned into a fruitful endeavour. While wearing the clothes, she caught the attention of those around her. And soon there were requests for the clothes and a cycle of her sister sending clothes to her and her selling them began. A big inspiration!
“So after settling abroad I realised I authentically want to be African. I wanted to represent my country. So that was my first drive when I settled down in the country. I had my sister back home and I asked her, ‘hey could you please get me a few pieces and share with me’ because I want to dress like this and she did. The first 5 pieces she sent me, to my surprise my colleagues loved them and I ended up selling them. So I asked my sister to make more. She did, and I sold out.”
Even though she did Communication and PR, she could not quench her thirst for the fashion world. Despite her family being against her sudden switch to a career in fashion, Aulgah still took the time to search for schools to study Fashion design. Visiting different places and collecting brochures, she took the time to search for a place that could be the right fit and shared them with her family. With tenacity she enrolled herself in a graphic design course, which thankfully turned into a job opportunity. After a few months working there, she finally gave it up to pursue her dream of fashion design.
“Two months down the line, I resigned without telling anyone but I had made savings. So I bought my own machine, employed a tailor. I started working with this tailor just to make my own clothes. I would wear my own clothes when visiting my friends, going to church. My friends started liking my dresses and when I told them I have a fashion house, they thought I was joking, “like what do you mean a fashion house?”. I said, “Yeah, my house has become a fashion house.”
It took time for Nato to grow her business and at first she used herself as a marketing tool showing tenacity. Eventually her neighbour linked her up with another production company and when asked how long she’d been in business she told them three years even though it had only been a few months. Given the opportunity she worked day and night with her tailors to produce clothes for them. This opportunity allowed her to meet the cost of production however they were only borrowing the clothes so at the end of the day she was still left with many clothes.
Her friend introduced her to Nairobi Fashion Market where she then got into the market. Although at first she shared a booth as the cost of getting a whole booth was too much. But one to never give up she took this chance to get her clothes into a larger market exposing her wonderful designs to the Nairobi market.
“I went to Nairobi Fashion Market, I made business cards and actually that was the same time Couture was launching. We’ve grown together, I have been part of the magazine, in giving them pieces. In different ways we’ve supported each other. “
“What’s my inspiration? I wanted to be my mum… the stuff that she wore back in the day in the 80s and early 90s and even as a young lady- I want to bring them to life. She has been my motivation-my inspiration is seeing the things she wore as a young lady into my collection. Most of my pieces are inspired by classic, timeless collections. Thats a bit about me, yeah”
When asked what she hopes for herself as an individual and for her brand, she had this to say.
“I hope to have my collection flood the market not just locally but international. I hope to touch more of those, I also hope to have a lot of fashion designers and fashion trainees. I hope to have people tell their story about fashion. Not to just make it a fashion business but also to be able to tell a story, to change lives, to touch lives. Because I actually do think to be in fashion, it’s a calling. It’s not just one of the professions you can just push yourselves to have cause you want to do it”
It’s clear to see why Aulgah Nato is a growing brand in the Kenyan fashion world. Her story is one of strength, focus and tenacity. Her designs are timeless, elegant and sophisticated. If you hadn’t heard of the brand and the woman behind it, we suggest you now start to follow Aulgah and her brand. They have so much more to give and show -and it’s a journey that we are excited to watch her take place.