Metropole Magazine

 
 
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02 Feb

 

 

Mid Kollections, which stands for Muslim Identity collections, is a business entity that provides modest wear for a mostly Muslim customer base in Nigeria and beyond. Amongst their collection which includes abaya’s, skirts, and dresses, is the modest swimwear, a rarity in Abuja city.

 

After smashing success with Mid Kollections outfits, the company took to supplying sportswear. C.E.O of the company,Mr. Abdulhameed Adetona, decided to bring in the swim wear due to the same reasons he started bringing in fashionable modest wear for women, men and children from around the world.

 

We realized the demand, especially the swimming wears, from the Muslim community, for something modest and decent so they can exercise themselves and feel comfortable. So we decided to find a solution to that challenge,” he said.

 

All the swimming suits from Mid Kollections are made by Modestly Active, an Islamic fashion brand which Mid Kollections is the sole representative in the country.

 

The swimsuits are long and come in two pieces suitable for any mass of water. The bottom half is a pair of pants, while the top is a long sleeved shirt, and comes hooded or without a hood, depending on the customer’s preference. Mid Kollections introduced its swimming wears at their last fashion show in Abuja, and has since then received wide interest for residents in the capital city.

 

The swimming suits come in two ranges, the kids’ range, which costs around N10,000, and the women’s range, which cost N15,000.

 A corps member at the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Mrs. Fatima Gashagar, said she had been patronizing Mid Kollections for a while, and one of her purchases from their store was a Modestly Active Swimming suit.

 

“When I first saw the swimming suit, the first thing that came to my mind was ‘oh my God this looks like a decent top and trouser and shouldn’t be wasted in water!’ It looked too comfortable and funky!” Mrs. Fatima Gashagar said.

 

Because of her love for sports, swimming, and an overwhelming curiosity of what the new, fully covered swimming wear felt like, she got herself a pair and went swimming.

 

“The suit is comfortable, decent, and stylish at the same time,” she confessed. “When I’m in my swimming suit, I feel modestly active, covered, and comfortable.”

 

“Muslim women can ‘feel among’ and be active in sports without thinking twice about what they’re wearing,” she further stated.

13 year old student at Great Heights Academy, Miss Aisha Sogbesan, believes the swimming suit is the perfect choice for young Muslim girls.

 

“I don’t think many girls know about the Islamic swimming suit here. When I used to go for swimming lessons I was the only one with it, and everyone asked me where I got it,” she said.

 

Mr. Abdulhameed feels elated that through Mid Kollections, many women who prefer to cover up completely when swimming, come to his store or their website to purchase.

 

“Through Mid Kollections, women can participate in sporting events without compromising their identity of following their religious dictates,” he said.

 

Lovers of pools, rivers and beaches are not the only ones who get this kind of special treatment at Mid Kollections. The fashion store also sells sports wears for tennis, karate, basketball, and boxing. They too can be active and fashionably modest.




 


 



 






 


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14 Jan

Very few chefs like to be seen when they are in their kitchens, concocting the next best dish, so it’s quite bizarre when one walks into Banana Republic, a Turkish, Chinese, and Nigerian restaurant in Maitama, to see a Turkish chef whipping up palatable meals out in the open by the entrance, where everyone can see. Mr. Selahattin Genc is the head chef of the Turkish Cuisine at Banana Republic, and he insisted on having his kitchen by the door.

“I want my customers to see exactly what I’m doing,” he said with a smile.

As he cooks, customers can sit down and enjoy a meal on the chairs and table opposite the kitchen.

Selahattin joined Banana Republic in 2013 and has since been cooking different assortments of Turkish cuisine for his customers.

“I love watching people eat my food, I don’t have anything to hide,” he said.       

For thirty years, Selahattin Genc has been cooking as a hobby and an occupation, first in Turkey and now in Abuja, Nigeria. He recently settled in Abuja as a Turkish chef. Before Abuja, Mr. Genc worked in the Turkish Restaurant in Kaduna.

Before coming to the country, he searched for countries that did not have a Turkish restaurant- because no one likes competition really, and Nigeria popped up. Mr. Genc packed up his bags and savings, and flew to Kaduna. Once in Kaduna, he worked for a few years at a couple of other restaurants at first, just to get a feel of the environment. The he opened what is believed to be the first Turkish restaurant in Nigeria, called- you guessed it- Turkish Restaurant, at Unguwan Rimi.

For about a year and a month, things were going great for him, until the 2011 election crisis erupted. He was forced to leave his restaurant behind to a safer location. It took months before he could start up again in 2012, but he did. For about three years, Mr. Genc was able to start afresh, grow his restaurant, and regain his customer base.

However, he sold the restaurant and in 2013 joined the Banana Republic Team in Maitama, Abuja, as the Head Chef in charge of the Turkish Cuisine.

Mr. Genc loves his life in Abuja. He wakes up at dawn, observes his morning prayer, and drives for fifteen minutes from his home in Asokoro to the restaurant in Maitama. He cooks, fries, bakes, and grills Turkish dishes, from Adana kebab to Donash, mostly meat related, and makes sure his guests are satisfied. He spends most of his time at the restaurant, but he says he doesn’t mind.

“I like my occupation, and I like my customers to be happy. If they are not happy, I’m not happy,” he said. “My customers are like my second family, really.”

Mr. Genc’s kitchen is a bright, white colored ordinary kitchen. It has a refrigerator, a grill, an oven, juicers, blenders, and a mincing machine for the variety of meat delicacies he makes, like kebabs and beef shawarma.

His customers come from all over the world, and many have commended his dishes. Humanitarian worker, Miss Dorsa Nazemi, thought it peculiar that the restaurant’s kitchen was right there in plain sight.

“I like the fact that the kitchen is right in the open. It makes everything transparent,” she said. “It’s fresh and clean.”

Although she has been there just two times, she said the shawarma is her favourite.

Mr. Raef Goubrain who comes from Egypt said he felt much comfortable when he saw that the kitchen was visible. And so did Mr. Yves Van Loo, an official at the ICRC.

“For me it wasn’t a surprise to see the kitchen out in the open like that because I’ve seen lots of restaurants in Morocco that cook and serve their dishes outside,” Mr Loo said.

“I think it’s a good thing because you are attracted by the smell and can see what’s going on,” he added.

Asides from keeping an open kitchen, Mr. Genc is known for his fantastic customer service. Mr. Abiola, manager of the restaurant, said Mr. Genc makes every effort to fulfill his customers’ needs. He sends his customers who spend over N3,000 free fruits, and every patron gets free tea, as is Turkish tradition to serve guests tea when they come over. When customers are not happy about their meal, he doesn’t charge them.

So how does one who cooks lots of meat everyday for twelve hours stay so fit and healthy?

Well, Mr. Genc happens to be a kick boxer. Ever since he was 17 years old, he started learning the sport. He practices kickboxing for an hour and a half, three times a week at home. His role model? Turkish sports actor Junaid Arkan.

Additionally, he loves his vegetables and fruits. He makes his salad as green as possible, avoiding oil and mayonnaise.

When he’s not cooking or working out, Mr. Genc makes an effort to watch TV. He avoids watching sports, he’d rather do it, he said. He enjoys the Food Network, documentaries, and if he really has to watch sports, he settles for boxing.

“Exercise, prayer, food, and reading books; these four are very important to me,” he said.

He would read an Islamic book intently when given the time. He doesn’t miss a single prayer because it matters to him.

Mr. Genc’s lifestyle is just like any other. One thing that stands him out from many others is that he does not care much for money. He doesn’t mind sending over free fruits, vegetables and tea to his customers every day.

“Money is not everything,” he said, “It is not important.”

His future goal is to have ingrained the Turkish culture in Nigeria by training Nigerians how to cook Turkish cuisine.

It seems his goals are already coming true. Mr. Genc is currently teaching two of his staff all his recipes, and hopes to teach a larger audience one day.

“If you teach someone something, they will make du’a(say a prayer) for you. You can have money today, and you can lose it all tomorrow,” he said.

See below for more pictures:





 

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