Fashion is all around us. It is a necessity that we think we can live without but we actually can’t. We don’t need to have some excessive fashion sense, that’s left for the creatives. But it is important to stand back and think for a second why we have to bother with fashion.
Aside from being a form of expression, fashion is part of our culture. That’s why we can identify Nigerian styles, fabrics, or that of other African countries. Whether it was in the time of tying wrapper or wearing beads, it’s all part of our cultural heritage. It is popular culture. One of the distinction between ethnic groups in Nigeria is done using fashion.
Fashion has also added substantially to the economic growth of the nation. When we think of things we need to survive, we think food, shelter and clothes. It is important in our everyday lives. This has been pivotal to the creation of jobs as we have this massive potential market everywhere and all the time. !f this is taken advantage of we could generate enough wealth and facilitate sustainable development in our country (it’s not all about the oil money). With this, we have understood the business of fashion.
Fashion is also significant to the recording of our historical trends. Before the coming of the colonial masters, there was the ‘naked’ period, after which we had the Khaki wearing period (imitating the colonial masters). We only began our own fashion freedom after that… or so we thought. There is still a lot of Western influence on our style choice but all these are part of our historical totality. Significant aspects of our political history has been visible in our fashion as well (war against indiscipline)
Finally, fashion statements are important in defining individual and societal beliefs. The fashion industry glamorises that ideal and makes it what is desired and emulated by the people of the society. Like making a feminist statement through fashion photography that shows the strength and beauty of a woman. Hence, what we consider as important, is what is valued, beautiful and known. It becomes what is important to the people and that right there, that is why fashion will always matter.
Written by Nkem Ikeh
Images: yeyeolade.wordpress.com, nairaland.com, adireafricantextiles.com, blackfabulousity.com