Upclose and Personal
By MBONI KIBELLOH
Ally Rehmtullah personifies what fashion is about. He is style for he embodies the life and becomes the creation that yields the fashion statements. If you have never met him before, Ally is a walking mannequin; it's no wonder why he has managed to dress the Dar-es-Salaam's finest icons.
Having been in the industry for just about a year, Mr. Rehmtullah has already made some of the biggest contributions to the fashion industry
in the country. Based in Upanga, his clothes are living proof of just what Ally is capable of creating: classic yet edgy, eccentric yet feminine, trendy yet innovative, daring yet alluring.
His commercial CV dates back to around this time last year when he accepted the opportunity to contribute his ideas and collection to the Valentine Special, Lady in Red organized by Asia Idarous.
It was an instant success for which he never looked back. He stole the show last year and managed a repeat performance this year 8th February when he walked away with the Best Designer in Tanzania Award.
Of course Ally Is not with talent and intuition alone, he is fully equipped with the backing up of technical know-how from design and fashion school – Baum School of Art and Lehigh College in Pennsylvania. In his field, he is a jack of all trades.
He designs, cuts and tailors. Though little did he know that having gone to America to initially study graphics and multimedia, that he would realize his gift and passion for clothes.
I caught up with him one warm evening over a drink and I was dying to know how he got into fashion. He told me simply but passionately, "I love clothes, I love dressing up people."
He went on to tell me how he sees possibilities in clothes, the excitement he derives from seeing how garments can shape a women and what could be a result of mixing colour, material and design. "Sometimes I feel it's a curse." He jokes. But maybe it is true for this magician who envisions designs and easily turns them into reality
with a click of his fingers.
Rehmtullah is no stranger to the world of business. Fully aware that fashion alone doesn't guarantee loyal customers, Ally puts a lot of effort and emphasis on the importance of quality.
He understands how fabric adds class and compliments a woman's figure if chosen correctly. And therefore goes to great lengths and if needs be worldwide to source the finest materials.
I had to ask him who he hasn't dressed but would love to dress if given the chance. In a heartbeat without much thought he answers "Tyra Banks." And of course he loves to dress anybody who gets his style.
With a down to earth, and an easy going personality talking to Ally felt very natural. Humble and gracious as he is, he was open to share his sources of inspiration without ego.
He is also quick to credit the support of all those who made it possible for him to do what he loves; family, friends, his team and the wonderful people he has met along the way.
My interview with him would not have been complete without asking him what he has in store for us for 2008. He has just an instant success at Asia Idarous's fashion show where he displayed his 5 piece collection dubbed "JUST PINK" and is currently working on his very own upcoming showcase in May.
Perhaps we should be looking forward to designer boutiques of its kind or international appearances in the fore future. But for the time being, Ally Rehmtullah is on fire. I believe we haven't yet seen the best of him just yet… watch out for his next collection in May. If you cant wait till then visit him at his Upanga workshop, let him drape you, let him spoil you, let him give you a fashion make over.