Ahmed Tailor

Colour image showing the shopfront of Ahmed Tailors in Harlesden.
Ahmed Tailor, 109 High Street Harlesden, 2021. Photograph by Rachel Lum

When was Ahmed Tailor established?

Colour image showing Muslim modesty wear clothing in fine fabrics, in a variety of colours including blues, greens, greys, ochres, browns.
Clothing at Ahmed Tailor, 2021. Photograph by Rachel Lum

Ahmed Tailor has been in Harlesden for 20 years, they were first established in 2001. Ahmed came from Somalia, having been a tailor there, and continued when he settled in Harlesden. His business has grown over the years, now also supported by his wife, UmmSafa.

Creative researcher Iqro Abdi had been going to Ahmed Tailor with her mum all her life. She remembered in their early years they only had a small shop occupying one section of the ground floor at 109 High Street, Harlesden. Now they occupy the entire ground floor, and also has a presence online. Iqro said the tailor has an excellent reputation across London in Muslim communities, and many travel to Harlesden to visit the shop.

Photograph showing a corner of Ahmed Tailor’s shop where a tailor sits, with a work station including two different sewing machines. Behind the work station on the wall are spools of thread in different colours, in easy reach for use during day-to-day work.
Tailor’s workstation at Ahmed Tailor, 2021. Photograph by Rachel Lum

What do Ahmed Tailor sell?

Ahmed Tailor sell a range of different modesty garments, including Hijab (a head scarf); Abayah (a full length tunic dress, worn with a Hijab) and Jilbab (a one-piece garment which covers from head to toe).

Colour photograph of woman wearing a jilbab in a natural brown tone. The photograph is taken from behind her and she is walking away from the camera along a London street, with wrought iron railings next to her.
Jilbab from Ahmed Tailors, 2021.

This is a Jilbab. It is mentioned in the Qu’ran and is used to help women practice modesty. At Ahmed Tailors you can buy in a multitude of colours and they will cut it to fit you in under 3 hours. The shop assistant at Ahmed Tailor, Aizhana, says they are also open to making all kinds of dress.

Close up photograph of a page from the order book for Ahmed Tailors, showing little drawings and fabric swatches.
Order book, Ahmed Tailor, 2021. Photograph by Rachel Lum

What was the building?

View of the front of Ahmed Tailors, showing the whole building.
Ahmed Tailor, 109 High Street, Harlesden (2021).
Black and white photograph showing historic image of Harlesden High Street with The Royal Oak on the corner. The stretch of buildings where Ahmed Tailor is, was not yet built.
High Street, Harlesden, c 1900. Brent Museum and Archives Object Ref: 1324

This image shows the High Street with The Royal Oak on the corner. The stretch of buildings where Ahmed Tailor is, was not yet built. There is a gap in the buildings, and then another pub owned by the Brewers Fuller Smith & Turners to the right of the photograph. Today that pub is called the Green Man, it has been rebuilt since this photograph was taken.

It has been listed Grade II by Historic England. We hope to be able to discover more about 109 High Street through future archive research.

With thanks to Iqro Abdi, and to Ahmed, UmmSafa, Aizhana and all at Ahmed Tailors.

Find out more

Visit Ahmed Tailor’s website here

Historic England.org.uk, 105, 107 and 109, High Street, Harlesden, list entry.

Please also see Brent Museum and Archives webpages for more information on the history of Harlesden and Brent.