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Fashion in Nigeria- Traditional vs Western Clothing

Fashion in Nigeria has always been diverse, reflecting its many ethnic groups, religions, and cultures. Recently, the Nigerian fashion industry has developed more participants, exposure, structure, presence, earnings, and training.
Magazines devoted to fashion in Nigeria are now common. Many now work in the industry as clothing designers, fashion models, clothing stylists, fashion photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, cosmetologists, and fashion journalists.

There are definite distinctions between traditional Nigerian clothing and Western clothing in Nigeria. Traditional clothing identifies which ethnic group one belongs to, and can indicate one’s gender, class, religion, and region. For instance, city and rural dwellers in Nigeria can easily distinguish Eastern Nigerian ways of dressing from Northern Nigerian or Western Nigerian ways. This is because the different lifestyles call for different clothing styles.

During colonialism and into the modern period, Nigerians slowly began to wear more and more Western clothes, including blouses, skirts, dress pants, and wigs, especially in schools and government jobs.
Overtime, Nigerian fashion began to mirror its status as an independent nation as people began to wear their traditionally made Nigerian outfits in urban areas and to work, church, and so on. Today, it is fairly uncommon for businessmen in Nigeria to wear English suits.

In recent times, there has also been a reawakening of Nigerians to fashionably embrace local fabrics like aso-oke, adire, and Nigerian wax. Some indigenous designers like Ituen Basi prefer to only use Nigerian wax in their designs; she has even designed a line of ankara footwear, jewelry, bags, and accessories. This print craze recently caught on with the Western fashion world and this time, Africa, specifically Nigeria, has become a major muse.

These various fabrics have been used to make styles peculiar to the Nigerian society and also has been incorporated into western style of clothing. Fashion designers in Nigeria, as well as major manufacturers of fabrics and ready-made clothes, constantly draw inspiration from traditional styles of clothing, creating new collections of attires and fabrics.

In a bid to westernise most of the traditional fabrics, various styles have been brought to the fore; these includes Peplum tops, Ankara Gowns, Blouses, bell sleeves, The Culottes Trousers, Traditional skirts and so many others.

The men also are not left out in the fashion conscious world of today. Native styles for male can be traditional dashiki or grand boubou with narrow or wide trousers and an go with a kufi headdress or without it. Others include Safari, Atiku styles, Agbada and the popular senators wears which owes it origin the South Eastern and Niger Delta regions of Nigeria.


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Written by PH

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