Attires from Nigeria are unique, and this is because it has always been passed continuously from generation to generation. Nigeria is made up of about 371 ethnic groups hence the diverse cultural attire. Nigeria is a country located in West Africa and with proven facts the most populous black nation in the world. In Africa, the use of colorful clothing is widely embraced as well as its creatively crafted patterns and designs.
As earlier stated, Nigeria has about 371 ethnic groups with each characterized by its unique colors, pattern, and style that shows each ethnicity.. This implies that it is very easy to identify an ethnic group in Nigeria through their fashion sense. Fashion after all is a way of life, a belief, and a symbolic representation of a particular people (tribe).
The evolution of fashion in Nigeria would not be properly defined or invented without certain contributions of these ethnic groups. The three major ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. The minor ethnic groups such as Fulani, Tiv, Idoma, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Nupe, Koro, etc. also play roles that cannot be overlooked.
The Hausas are a majority in the north, although there are other tribes such as the Nupes and Fulani. They have arguably similar touches of dressing styles although with very visible differences. In a popular northern occasion a certain pattern, style and mode of dressing is seen to be very common amongst the people. This can easily give out your region, state or tribe. The popular clothing style of men are Kaftan, Buba, Shokoto, Babarigan etc. The women can be commonly seen in clothes that helps cover most part of their bodies. This clothes and dresses always come with distinct futures. Veils are also an important feature of fashion in the North for such women.
In an Owambe party, such parties are usually hosted by the Yorubas in the south west of Nigeria and an avenue to showcase colorful attire and style. The owambe styles worn at such occasion have spread across the country and are easily spotted in heavy occasions. The most seen attire are Oleku, Buba ati Ito(wrapper and blouse), Ipele(shawl), Asoke, and Gele for the ladies. The men are mostly seen in Dansaki, Sokoto, Agbada, etc.
The south easterners are a fashion-loving people as well and are referred to as the Igbo tribe, One of the major ethnic groups . Most of their events are usually colourful with bright laces and wrapper. This region have a flair for the Akwa oche( velvet), Colorful laces and wrappers, Isiagwu, isiodum etc. It is quite easy to identify an Igbo lady with her mode of dressing. They usually wear a two pieced wrapper, a colorful blouse, and a headgear(This can also be addressed as gele same word used by the Yoruba). A male from southeast can be identified with the popular Akwa-Oche, Ishiagu, ishiodum and a matching Cap(Okpu Iche)
The south south has a variety of fashion sense as some ethnic group are fused together. These ethnic groups are diverse but arguably have similar fashion sense. They dress like the south east but have different unique touches on their own. The women appear more on wrappers and blouses while the men in wrappers and a preferably baggy shirt adorned by accessories.
Evolution of fashion in Nigeria wouldn’t be complete without these regions and groups.
However, modern fashion today in Nigeria originated from them and coupled with the creatives and affluence of culture, fashion is where it is today.
Photo credit: Google, Vanguard.