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Fashion all over the world differs, but there’s the ever-evolving style trend that binds it all together. There are chances that people have worn a popular trend that everyone is into today years before. The Nigerian fashion industry is proof of this changing nature of fashion. Over the years, the industry has experienced tremendous growth and making big impacts in the global fashion world.
However, a lot of Nigerian fashion brands have over time made use of cultural items as integral parts of their collection and it’s refreshing to see. For a lot, it’s almost like a signature piece for their collections. We look at a couple of designers showing at the 2018 Lagos Fashion Week and how cultural items, and fashion trends of before, have influenced their pieces.
Aso-oke, by far is the most predominant item on this list. The hand loomed cloth woven by the Yoruba people has made its way to various collections in the past and we’re expecting it to be an item for the SS 2019 runway. In the past, brands like Re, Ladunni Lambo, and Mo Agusto have made this a staple and we expect even more brands to make use of this.
Adire is a common cloth made by the people of South Western Nigeria using resist-dyeing techniques. Today, a lot of Nigerian designers have adapted the adire technique into making even more fashion-forward pieces for runway and ready-to-wear collections. Brands like Maki Oh, Demure by Denike and Amede have been custodians of the adire culture in the past.
The hand-woven Akwete fabric gets its name from the city in Nigeria with the same name. Prince Charles and Princess Diana commissioned the indigenous fabric in 1990 and is today merged into contemporary fashion with the likes of Kenneth Ize and Emmy Kasbit on the frontiers. It should be recalled that when British prime minister Theresa May visited Nigeria, she wore a custom akwete jacket created by Emmy Kasbit.
Cowries and beads have been used as ornaments right from the beginning of time. Even when cowries were a means of currency, they were used by African women as ornaments. So it’s not out-of-place today to see cowries and beads reclaiming their space in fashion today. Whether they’re used to accessorise the body or the outfits as seen in collections by Orange Culture and Emmy Kasbit, they sure do a great job of adding beauty to the pieces they meant for.
There’s still a long list of indigenous fashion items used in design today: there are batik and ankara to mention but a few and all of this are still relevant today and would be for a long period.