The Kampala streets ooze smartness and popular fashionista Brian Ahumuza a.k.a Abryanz is to “blame”. He talks to MBU about family, career, challenges, beliefs, and so much more in “20 Questions”
Born on 1st November 1990, Titus Brian Ahumuza commonly known as Abryanz is a Ugandan fashion designer and the CEO of Abryanz Collection.
Abryanz was born in Masindi and studied at Asaba Primary School, and Bugema Adventist Secondary School before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work & Social Administration from Kyambogo University.
“I was born in Masindi where both my parents come from. I’m a Munyoro. I really don’t know how many we are in our family. I have so many siblings,” he told MBU.
The soft-spoken designer has been in the fashion industry for more than ten years under his fashion label, Abryanz (Est. 2009).
Recently, he unveiled his latest fashion line called the “A(b) CommUnity Collection. We caught up with him and discussed the interesting and challenging points of his successful career:
Where and how did your fashion career begin, and who gave you the platform?
My fashion career began at my first workplace, Huawei, where I was selling clothes to my workmates. I was still on campus and I also sold clothes to my coursemates around 2011-2012.
I don’t think anybody gave me a platform but I worked with so many people when I had just started. I worked my way out and put my brand out there.
I met so many people, the likes of Douglas Lwanga, Calvin the Entertainer, Kim Swagga, Chameleone. Those are the first people I met but I can’t say they gave me a platform because I was already doing my own thing and was offering a service to them.
Starting out as a new Fashionista, what are some of the memorable moments that you can never forget?
When I started dressing celebrities like Chameleone, Douglas (Lwanga), and Calvin (the Entertainer), it was something I never knew would happen. People who I could watch on TV, and now here I was dressing them. Those are some of the moments I wouldn’t forget.
Which were the first major challenges for you and how did you overcome them?
Dealing with men’s fashion, it was a big challenge to convince people that men can be fashionable. You were judged so much so it was one of the major challenges – even till now, although people are more exposed lately. It was like a cross I had to carry trying to dress men; in color and fitted clothes.
How much did your parents contribute to your career?
My parents didn’t contribute anything to my career. My Mum was in the same business so she inspired me to do this business. She died when I was eight years old so she didn’t contribute to what I am today but her doing the same business when she was still alive taught me many things and I learned so much from her.
Which is your unforgettable memory as a Fashionista?
Attending a fashion show or a red carpet event, by then there were those elite parties. Going to Zari’s All-white party for the first time, then the first fashion show we did with Kim Swagga at Club Silk, all those moments to me are unforgettable.
Where were you when you heard your brand being recognized for the very first time?
I was in Kampala.
How did you react to that?
It was a newspaper article and I felt so good.
If you remember, how much did you charge your very first professional client? What did you do with that money?
I don’t remember to be honest. All I know is I’ve always been professional. From the word go it has always been “pay for the service and I use the money for the business.”
What do you think is the unique piece about your brand that people love so much?
I think people love Abryanz because they have seen me grow with them so they kind of relate. That should be the most unique thing.
Has your talent landed you in trouble before?
No. Not really.
How do you choose your team and what do you regard before you employ anyone?
Actually, it’s so weird that I employ people based on my connection with them. When I meet you and we have a conversation and I realize there is something you can add to my brand, it’s something simple as that. I need to have that connection with the person I’m employing.
Apart from a manager, who is a must-have on a public figure/celebrity’s team?
Right now it’s the social media manager or the communication manager. Apart from the manager, you need someone to do your PR.
What has changed much in the fashion industry since you joined?
A lot has changed. Fashion for men is not perceived the same as it was and we’ve connected Ugandan fashion to the rest of the world; to South Africa, Nigeria, America, and other different countries. We’ve done so many things that people who came before us couldn’t do.
If someone asked what your top 3 contributions to the fashion industry are, what would you tell them?
- I put men’s fashion on the map.
- I started the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards – ASFAs show (Est. 2013) recognizing different creatives.
- Of course, I changed the way celebrities look.
What is the one piece of advice a younger version of you didn’t consider but should have?
I don’t think there’s anything that I regret not doing. I’ve been focused for as long as I remember. I’ve been focused since I was 19 years old, so there’s nothing I undermined. I feel like I followed everything I had to do and that’s why I am where I am today.
Would you want your children to follow your career path? If so, which step would you wish them to skip?
I wouldn’t want my children to follow my path. I would just want them to do what they want to do. They shouldn’t follow my path if they don’t want it.
Relationships at work. What do you have to say about those? Do you believe they can grow and prosper?
I think it’s not advisable.
Do you have any regrets in your career?
Not really. I am one person who never has regrets. What happens, happens. Bad or good, it happens.
What more would you like to achieve?
I want to push my clothing brand to an international level where people wear Abryanz in any part of the world because of how unique and nice the designs are.
The last piece of advice you would give to the readers that would definitely help them in their respective careers
I advise people to be themselves and stick to what they like to do and keep perfecting their art. When you stick to what you do, you keep getting better at it. Byebyo!