In honour of Nigerias’ Independence day, I decided to get a little personal Culture wise. In my bid to shadow one of our traditional attires, I recreated a modern afro fusion look. Because I do not have a lot of my cultural attire here in Atlanta, I made a last minute outfit with some ankara wrappers I found in one of the closets at home.
I made the top from a little strip of fabric, which happens to be my grandmothers. I have always been an ankara fan, especially the bright and colourful patterned ones. Seeing as ankara is now widely recognized around the world, I thought this would be a good take on afro fusion, especially as I decided to pair my home made top with a Westernized styled skirt. After I completed the top, I decided to go a step further into the Nigerian culture with my gele (head wrap).
Geles are usually large and elaborate as shown in these pictures (although mine is still minimal compared to what you see in the deep rooted parts of Nigeria … lol). As seen, the gele covers a woman’s hair and her earlobes and only reveals her face and earrings. Typically, gele is worn with traditional African attire and not in a contemporary fashion like the way I have styled it. Gele can be tied with different fabrics such as haze, damask and ankara etc. Again, I used ankara in these photographs.
At first, I was skeptical about my look. But hey, what is fashion if you cannot set your own trends or be comfortable in what you wear. It all depends on how you rock it right? I like to think I am brave and fearless, although these days I am leaning back and running into shelter because I have to share this part of me with the world now that I blog. On other days when I am not running from expressing who I really am, I am working on owning EVERYTHING that is me. I think I did a pretty good job from creating a top out of a mere strip of fabric, to pairing it with the traditional gele. What do you guys think?
My mother has also been my personal photographer of recent, and I must say she is doing a fantastic job capturing my style.
This look is one I am completely proud of, and although I was not able to share the more traditional African/Nigerian attire with you all today, I am glad I could give a glimpse of what it is like to dress African but first and foremost Nigerian. Hopefully I can share with you the actual Nigerian attire soon.
With that being said, I see this outfit being showcased on the runway or in a fashion showroom as a more contemporary look to African designs and African art. Styling this outfit really took me back to my A Level days in the UK when I studied Textile designing. I was able to implement some of my skills.
I do hope you have enjoyed reading about my style and my take on ankara. I hope you liked my recreation and I look forward to bringing in more African inspired outfits to my blog. To conclude, find below a piece I wrote in honour of the “Giant of Africa”, NIGERIA.
To the country I hold most dear to my heart,
To the Land I spent the better years of my life at,
To the people I recognize most closely with,
To the giant whose future was once a myth.
To see you grow is something we have all dreamed,
Teaming up just to see you beam,
United we stand until you are fully nurtured,
all your resources we shall forever treasure.
Oh land of green,
even through pressure we shall cherish you to greater measure,
through independence you shall continue to showcase rich culture.
Happy 55th Birthday Nigeria.