I remember going through an old album at home one day and I thought to myself ‘where have all these clothes gone to? It almost seems like the men fashion during my father’s time seemed more fun. The colours… oh my! The colours were amazing. I want to assume that the need to use colours have not changed as time went by. They were more open to experimenting with different fashion forms to better express the typical man. Nowadays, it just seems more borrowed than owned. The disheartening part of the evolving men’s fashion is the question of sexuality. The norm will be a man is not expected to put too much thought on his attire. This makes him feminine. Fashion is expected to be a woman’s world.
Just think back for a second to the pictures you may have seen of your parents and their friends. Remember the days of boot cut trousers and flowery shirts. And yes, that was worn by men. If that seems too close in time, move back a bit and think of the typical traditional attires. It varies from jewellery embellishments to leopard prints. Yes… leopard prints and of course, that is a no go area in this day and age. The most amazing addition to completing the African man’s fashion were platform shoes. Now, that’s meant for the ladies alone. Any modern man that tries trespass in that territory is tagged.
So why have things changed really?
The most prominent excuse that has been reiterated is sexuality. This issue is so touchy right now that no one wants to tread on the other side. People are scared to be judged and for men that will have to do with their fashion. They are not expected to pay too much attention to what they wear least they are called ‘gay’. They want to be presentable enough to seem peculiar but not too peculiar. It is always safe to go with the cliché I guess. ‘Wear manly colours’ someone would say. I mean what makes pink a woman’s colour and blue a man’s colour. Why does looking “manly” have to be dull and uninteresting? This was not an issue with the days of past. Their style was expressed in whatever colours and accessories that were at their disposal, done in confidence without fear of treading on either side of the gender scale.
There is a need for men to revive the drooping spirits of men’s fashion. Gladly, there are notable fashion icons that are leading in the revolution of men’s fashion. We have various fashion styles that we can identify with the past. What men style will our era be identified with? It is time for our mark to be made in the style trends in Nigeria and Africa.
Written by Nkem Ikeh