Fashion is a general term for a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body piercing or furniture. "Fashion" refers to a distinctive; however, often-habitual trend in a look and dress up of a person, as well as to prevailing styles in behavior. "Fashion" usually is the newest creations made by designers and are bought by only a few numbers of people; however, often those "fashions" are translated into more established trends. Worldwide fashion trend recently took a new path, a path favoring the Nigerian textiles; the Ankara fashion. Ankara fashion is vibrant pattern of very rich colorful designs fabric materials. It is mostly made of 100% cotton or cotton poly material. Originally the wax resist dyed fabrics were exported to the Gold Coast and spread over West Africa into Central Africa and are largely produced in Nigeria.
At one point in time, it was very fashionable to wear ‘ready-made clothes” and the traditional or ethnic printed fabric were only sewn into ‘iro and buba” which was regarded archaic. They however became extremely popular over time and were initially worn as every day traditional outfits customized by mostly local tailors to suit the designs of the person wearing it. Nowadays Ankara Fashion has a strong cultural, social and economic importance. Depending on the pattern of the design a specific name is given for example you will often hear people refer to the different design names like star, concord, shell, etc. The custom in Nigeria initially was for people from the same family to wear the same cloth to show they belong to a certain family at ceremonies and events. The blend of colors in these events makes it vibrant, fun and celebratory. But lately there has been a lot of talk about the recent proliferation of the Ankara fabric in the international fashion scene. The Ankara fabric is known to symbolize African fashion, thus, when used by a non-Africa fashion brand, the design is tagged ‘African-inspired’. Ankara has now become a popular commodity; it’s even imbibed in fashion shows and seen on international celebrities. Nigerian designers such as Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi of LDA, Kiki Kamanu, Ituen Basi, JD7, and Lisa Folawiyo of Jewel by Lisa, Zizi Cardow, and Ade Bakare amongst others have taken the indigenous fabric and transformed them into something the international fashion spot light is focused on. Clothing accessories also took to the trend; traditional fabric has been used on bracelets, shoes, clutch purses, brooches, ties and what not. The usage of ankara, a traditional Nigerian fabric, has evolved to mix-matching different, contrasting prints of Ankara and have been seen on international celebrities like Beyonce, Estelle, Kate Bonsworth, Gwen Stefani, Anna Wintour ( Editor in Chief of American Vogue) Solange Knowles, Khloe Kardashian, Lady gaga, Nicki Minaj, Amber Rose, Rihanna, Fergie, Kim Kardashian , Nicole Parker, and Alicia Keys. This new trend is quickly being adapted by youths and fashion lover across the globe. And coming mostly from Nigeria, it is a huge advancement in the recognition of made in Nigeria goods symbolizing the importance of Nigerians clasping onto indigenous creativity and innovation and seek lesser solutions from outside the country. If our fabric can go this far because of our warm embrace, then more can be achieved by looking inward.
By Nnagoziem TheVyrus Udensi