When popular Ibadan-based fashion designer, Alhaji Bashy Kuti, who is the CEO of BKK Ultimo Designs got his break many years ago, a lot of cynics felt he would not be able to sustain the success.
But over the years, Alhaji Bashy has built his fashion company into the big brand it is today. He is not just a Fashion designer, he has become a Wardrobe Consultant to many VVIP’s across Nigeria. And he is doing so well.
What has helped BKK is the fact that he knows the job in and out. And he is damn good at it. 24/7 he is involved in all the designs that pass through his stable, from the beginning to the end. And the good thing is that he has an eye for details. Many often forget that he is a trained tailor who also took time out to train himself. So, there is no way whatever comes out of his factory will not pass the litmus test. He is hands-on. He is usually there in his Jalamia, with a tape rule hanging around his neck, supervising and interacting with his tailors who are good on the job. He personally signs on tailors and he goes for the best.
He is also a City People loyal reader. And so enamoured is he with City People that he has become a member of the City People family. Through his efforts, he contributed to the success story of City People in Ibadan and the South West. Over the years, especially from its inception City People has benefitted from the enormous goodwill of Alhaji Bashy and his circle of friends.
As City People turns 25, we asked him to tell us what his wish is for City People @ 25.
“My wish for City People at 25 is for the celebrity magazine to keep soaring higher and higher. The magazine has proved that a dream doesn’t die. So my wish is for City People is to keep growing in strength”. He is one person who has not missed one single edition of City People magazine since its inception. What are his impressions of all the editions?
“To be honest what I find amazing with City People is an improvement. In each new edition, there’s always an improvement. The magazine has been telling stories for 25 years and with each edition you pick, there’s always an improvement from the previous one. That to me is brilliant. If you check my store, I have all the editions of the magazine and I usually file my favorites. I have my favorite editions that I keep in my library. I have about 50 binded copies of City People in my house”.
He is a big name in Ibadan known for his great designs. What has been his staying power?
“Three things… No 1 is to Identify my Clients and understand what they want. No. 2 is We don’t copy. We define styles and determine what should be en vogue No. 3. We have a credo, we don’t joke with ‘classy fit that keeps you happy.
We asked him to tell us the story of the BKK brand and how he has kept it at the top as No 1. “The story of BKK is an inspiring tale that I love to tell. I grew up having a sister who was a big-time fabric merchant. Interestingly, I got to know about all the quality fabrics and the nitty-gritty of the job. At that time there were just a few cloth makers/designers in Ibadan. All the big names were in Lagos. So, I felt this is an opportunity to express myself. Mind you, I dress very nice that friends would beg me to help them get the material I wore to parties. I started, it wasn’t easy. Challenges and disappointments here and there. Thank God, we are here today and we are saying a big thank you to all of you that identified with the brand and brought us to where we are today.”
“Keeping BKK at the top doesn’t come easy. As we speak, we have about 100 tailors in Ibadan that are fantastic(kudos to them), but we manage to keep focus and make sure we are hard to imitate. We don’t joke with our trade secret and that is the formula working for us. We dictate styles and we are confident in everything we do here. That’s why we stick to the international fashion calendar and know what time it is in the fashion industry”. How did he get involved with City People in Ibadan, we asked him.
“I’ve been there since the beginning. The Publisher is my friend. So, right from the start I’ve been a family member and will always be. I would also like to mention the late Bola Davies. May her soul rest in peace. We were always in tune throughout the period City People started in Ibadan that people used to joke I was a Staff of City People. She was a professional that did her best to lift the popularity of the magazine in Ibadan and I can’t forget Bola brought Celebrity reporting to Ibadan through what she was able to achieve with her Quality reportage in City People. May God rest her soul.