Ali Alpaban is weaving his fashion dream

In 2019, armed with Shs2.3million, Ali Alpaban, a 23-year old started Sultan Fashions.

This was not because he wanted to make money but because he at a tender age, had fallen in love with fashion. He therefore had to follow his heart into fashion.

 “I had Shs 2.3 million. I used shs2 million to pay for this house. It was unfinished. The money I paid is what the landlord used to finish the house. After, it was just me, one machine and a stool,” Ali recalls starting his journey.

“I used the remaining shs300, 000 to buy fabric. I displayed them very well on the wall and really looked something worth more than what I had bought.”

This was the start of Alpaban’s fashion house, Sultan Fashions.

Alpaban says that since childhood he had love for fashion but didn’t have training in it so in 2018, he paid Shs 900,000 for an eight months training course in fashion.

 “I got the basics, I taught myself other things. Actually, what I wanted to learn was operating the machine and men’s wear. That’s what I learned,” Ali says.

First client

Ali recalls that his first client came on the opening day of the fashion house.

“A female client came with her daughter and I think she had a party to attend with the daughter. She chose a material from what I had on display and paid Shs 100,000. She returned the next day to pick the outfit and paid the balance of Shs 20,000,” he says.

 “I didn’t think of saving that money. I just went straight and bought more fabric.”

Returns to school

In 2020, Alpaban decided to return to school at the Management Training and Advisory Centre (MTAC), Nakawa in Kampala, from where he graduated with a certificate in tailoring, fashion and design.

 “I just wanted to get a certificate, learn some basics and be formally taught. Of course you can’t teach what you don’t know,” he says.

He says that he has never looked back, having grown from just a single machine, stool and fabric worth Shs 300,000 to a big shop in Kireka along the Kampala-Jinja highway.

Alpaban says he pays shs250,000 per month for his one room space which faces Kampala-Jinja highway, one of the country’s busiest roads.

 “I have made some big designs. I have designed outfits for music videos. I have sold outfits across oceans. But this is not where I want to be,” he says.

Alpaban gets his customers through his social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok and a few cases come through referrals.

He says the cheapest outfit at Sultan Fashions costs Shs 25, 000 and this for a short-sleeved short or a pair of shorts whereas the most expensive outfit goes for  Shs 7 million depending on the customer’s taste and preferences.

“An outfit made from cheap fabric will definitely not be expensive. An outfit from an expensive fabric can’t be cheap. So, these prices depend on the fabric,” he says

For the local people around, they like outfits from cheap fabric but Alpaban says there are those that come knowing what they want and do not care how much a fabric of their choice costs.

“I deal with them depending on their budget and basically find something for them unless they don’t like it,” he says.

Apart from tailoring outfits, Alpaban does repairs on people’s clothes.

He also trains interested persons at Shs 200, 000 per month and the training lasts for three months.

Looking ahead

He says he has already planned his next move.

As scheduled, Alpaban says that this year is when he intends to roll out massive training targeting only interns.

 “I have already approached institutions that send out learners for internship,” Ali says.

“I want a set up with a different workshop. Workshop, display and training areas have to be separate. I have already planned this for this year. I will also stop doing repairs and concentrate on orders and big orders,’ Ali notes.

On a bad week, Alpaban makes Shs 200, 000 while on a good one, he makes about Shs 800, 000.

The 23-year-old however says that this depends on the season.


Alpaban encourages young people to work hard and be self driven.

“There is no way I can encourage one to look for an office job. Start something as small as what you have. Something like this is built on love. Don’t go for something because its what your father wants you to. Do something that you have passion for. Create jobs, not seek them,” he says.

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