Today, many young Nigerians are increasingly involved in fashion design, specifically fashion design made with local fabrics/materials. Indeed, the atmosphere is charged to the maximum and even the older generation appear happy to see young people who are so willing to embrace their cultural heritage, culture and traditional systems. However, even though fashion is increasing amongst these youths, there is a hitch.
This hitch may seem insignificant but over time it would become of higher significance. It has to do with the cut/ style that young Nigerian fashion designers use. Designers in the West have virtually done “everything” in terms of fashion and they are now saying they are returning to the styles and designs of the past and bringing it back into fashion.
For Nigeria’s fashion industry, my problem though is, why are we still copying them? It will sadly be a waste of talent amongst fashion designers in Nigeria if they only design to copy designs of the West. It is not unusual to see (ankara fabric slapped together and cut into a Western silhouette) But, copying Western designs shapes and using our local materials to create a finished product is not exactly something different. It’s something the fashion world has seen before.
Why then don’t young Nigerian designers interested in fashion (tap into) their roots and also use the traditional dress styles used by our parents? A good example of this is what Ituen Basi has done with her interpretation of the Iro and Buba. These are designs that most of those in the West have not even seen before. Working on what WE have and making it more fashionable is indeed more thrilling than copying someone’s designs.
Sadly, many young fashion designers just continue to copy the trends of the West. They should sit and think again of why pioneers in the fashion industry who did the same are not as well known as designers such as Giorgio Armani.
Think about this carefully and research your roots. There are certainly fashion styles of the past which our designers can carve a niche in. It is time for (innovation and putting Nigerian fashion and Africa on the world map). We need to do so, not by copying but by bringing unique designs that are authentically Nigerian and incorporate Nigerian/African culture to the table.
We need to begin creating uniquely Nigerian Trends
-Model in Ituen Basi Iro and Buba design