In Africa’s fashion capital, Lagos, ‘trad is swag’

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Lagos (AFP) – Leggy dancers in tight shorts, bottles of Moet champagne and flashy vehicles function in Nigerian pop icon Wizkid’s bling-bling tube movies.

But the singer himself has now swapped the Versace T-shirts and occasional-slung jeans that show his underwear for traditional African get dressed — a brand new adolescents fashion in fashion hub Lagos.

Last 12 months, Vogue voted Wizkid “Nigeria’s great-dressed pop singer”, a specifically coveted and prestigious name in a country wherein look is all crucial and the opposition is fierce.


Clothing that used to be considered most effective for the antique or for human beings out inside the provinces is putting the trend in style, from the Yoruba agbada, a big, triple-layered robe worn within the southwest, to the Igbo “Niger Delta” embroidered collarless blouse from the south, and the northern Hausa baby rug, a long tunic worn with an embroidered asymmetrical hat.

In recent years, this traditional garb — or “trade” because it’s dubbed — can be seen in places of work in addition to nightclubs, and at weddings and business meetings.

“It’s the in-issue now,” Wizkid advised Vogue mag.

“When I’m back home, all I wear is African fabric. I get material from unique parts of Nigeria — north, west, south — and I mix it up,” stated the 26-12 months-antique movie star.

Lack of area in Lagos, a sprawling megacity of 20 million population, has intended there are few purchasing centers and equipped-to-wear apparel shops are hard to locate.


Economic recession and the unfastened fall of the Naira forex has put paid to rich Nigerians’ shopping sprees in Dubai, Paris, and Milan.

Instead, they’ve needed to make do with what’s on provide domestically, sending the popularity of roadside tailors soaring.

– ‘Trad is swag’ –

In 2012, Omobolaji Ademosu referred to as B.J., left his activity in a bank to set up his own line of guys’ clothing, Pro7ven.

In tiny workshops in Ojodu, on the outskirts of Lagos, his dozen personnel reduce, stitch and iron a series of orders to the sound of a diesel generator.

B.J. Calls his fashion “African modern-day”.

His paintings include dazzling made-to-measure agbada with embroidered collars, that could promote for as much as one hundred fifty,000 naira ($475, 420 euros) every.

“Trad is swag,” smiled B.J.

“Any day, I can transfer from Yoruba to Igbo to Fulani, I’m rocking it! It’s the Lagos spirit, there is no barrier, we are one.”

When attending professional meetings in enterprise and politics, dressing within the ethnic outfit of your host is an indication of appreciating that can definitely pay off — or as a minimum win massive contracts.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s election marketing campaign in 2015, as an instance, featured him in a variety of traditional clothes from across the United States.

With extra than 500 ethnic businesses, Nigeria is capable of drawing from a huge catalog of fabrics, styles, and jewelry.

The splendor of every ethnic look is a source of pleasure, which has began to increase beyond Nigeria’s borders.

In early May, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, a spokesman for South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters celebration, posted a photograph of himself on Instagram, dressed in a dark “Niger Delta” outfit, entire with huge-brimmed hat and gemstone necklace.

His numerous and enthusiastic lady enthusiasts have been short to comment with emoji hearts, affectionately calling him “Igwe” — an Igbo prince.

– Retained ‘African delight’ –

“Even in Paris, young human beings from the diaspora need to provide themselves as African princess now,” said Nelly Wandji, proprietor of MoonLook, an African fashion boutique in the upmarket Rue du Faubourg St-Honore.

“Nigeria is surely the leader in fashion in terms of style, creativity, and range of regarded designers,” she stated on the latest visit to Lagos.

“Lagos Fashion Week has dethroned Johannesburg. Nigerians have remained much greater genuine, they have retained ‘African pleasure’, whereas South Africa may be very Europeanised.”


Wandji, who’s French of Cameroonian heritage, said the fashion trend changed into because of the African diaspora, of which Nigerians have been the main ambassadors by sheer weight of numbers.

“Young human beings from the diaspora are the drivers of African fashion, they have got reappropriated their culture and made it contemporary as it’s seen in Europe or America,” she stated.

Gloria Odiaka, a petite lady in her 50s, is the successful owner of a luxurious conventional fabric keep in Lekki, a properly-heeled Lagos neighborhood.

“The younger generation is into local wear and that they appearance gorgeous,” she said.

“My sons look at in Canada and after I cross to go to them they are saying, ‘Please, Mommy, buy us a few trades, I’m executed with Canadian T-shirts’,” she said with amusing.

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