What are the traditional African dresses

Traditional clothing mixes up Africa's fashion capital

Traditional clothing often has a somewhat uncomfortable aftertaste, if not a conservative one - just think of traditional costume fashion in German-speaking countries - which ensures that traditional clothing is worn more on special occasions than in everyday life. This is the case in India, where jeans and T-shirts are now replacing the traditional salwar kameez and sari for women in most offices, but also for the Quechua in Peru, for example, who swap traditional costumes for a skirt and blouse in everyday life.

In the capital of Nigeria, the fashion metropolis Lagos, this trend is currently being turned on its head, because here young people in particular are demanding “trads”, traditional fashion such as the Yoruba Agbada, a long, caftan-like garment for men , or the Dashiki, a long one, embroidered, collarless top from the south of the country.

It helps that the Nigerian pop star Wizkid, who was named “Nigeria's Best Dressed Pop Singer” by Vogue just last year, supports this trend and shows himself in traditional outfits at public appearances.

“It's in right now,” Wizkid confirmed to Vogue. “When I'm at home, I only wear African fabrics. I get the materials from different parts of Nigeria - north, west, south - and combine them. "

And so it happens that in recent years traditional clothing is no longer only worn by older generations and on special occasions, but can also be seen in offices and nightclubs, as well as at weddings and business meetings.

And especially in the business sector (or in politics) this small detail - to wear traditional clothes out of respect for one's counterpart - can really pay off, because this breaks the ice and expresses benevolence without words.

If you are wondering how much influence this trend could have on the fashion industry worldwide, you should keep the following facts in mind: With 20 million inhabitants, the fashion metropolis Lagos is not only the largest city in Nigeria or the most populous city in Africa , but also in the world. And it is only a matter of time before the trend spreads from the Nigerian population in other parts of the world to the general population and with it designers and trend experts as well.

“Even in Paris, young people from the diaspora want to present themselves as African princes,” confirms Nelly Wandji, owner of the Africa boutique MoonLook in Paris, to AFP. “Nigeria is the clear leader in fashion in terms of style, creativity and number of well-known designers. Lagos Fashion Week has replaced Johannesburg. Nigerians have remained far more authentic and have retained 'African pride' while South Africa is very Europeanized, ”she stated after her last visit to Lagos.

Photos: Abinami / Chima222; both via Wikimedia