African Men’s Fashion| Where we have been, where we are headed.

Ok so….African Fashion as a concept.  It has come a long way, as in…a really long way. Although there isn’t any evidence or historical record of where it originated from, nor when, it has however been around for quite a while. So with records on ground, we have an idea where African fashion as a concept is coming from. Back in the day, it was largely a concept only available and i dare say “comprehensible” by the the African elite, yes the elite. Basically only those who could afford to pay for the reputation that wearing a traditional African attire brings.

Alake of Abeokuta (Egbaland) Oba Ladapo Ademola II. Image courtesy: Nigerian Nostalgia Project.

The Agbada for instance, being one of the most popular traditional African attires that has been around for a while now, was exclusively for the more affluent demographic. Over the years , this apparel has undergone a lot of modification, making it a little less of what it used to be.

Image courtesy of J-GATES VISUALS

Read: KAYOJA ORIGINS| The Agbada

One major factor that has most recently began influencing the Agbada and most other attires of African origin has been the Western culture. The earlier “perception”,( and yes i chose to use that word because fashion and style as individual concepts, are both intertwined and usually reflect on a person’s preference) was that a native attire must be worn with certain types of foot wears, either sandals, slippers or certain types of dress shoes. A few years ago, i was outraged when i saw a picture of Ice prince, the popular Nigerian rapper, wearing an agbada with white sneakers. I was so riled up that i reposted the picture on my personal Instagram page. Little did i know that i was the one who wasn’t fashion up-to-date. What did i know?

A screenshot of my post on Instagram sometime in August 2014

Afterwards, the then strange sightings of guys wearing native attires generally with the oddest foot wears began popping up everywhere, i was pretty much forced to accept it as it was, that fashion has yet again gone bunkers, interestingly bunkers, because admittedly, agbada on a nice sneakers or even ankle high boots does look quite cool.

Jide Olumide, the CEO of JFK, one of the fashion brands switching up the Agbada. Image courtesy: @ceo_jfk

The next strange trend that recently came to surface, and to my notice, is the facecap-on-native trend. Yes facecap on native. If you are a fashion prude, I am sure you must have noticed it too and probably found yourself wondering what the hell the guy wearing it was thinking. Well, in my case, i didn’t wonder initially, I had already been seeing it around on several occasions, before it actually dawned on me. “Facecap on natives, who does that?” i thought to myself. But then i thought again while looking at the guy who could quite easily be taken as the “Jagaban” of the bad gang that just walked into the club, he actually looks cool o! Quite “frosh”if i were to use that slang. Then i realized that it wasn’t the first time i’d seen it. Meaning it almost seems normal from the point of view of a layman like myself, i mean again…what do i know sef?

Yomi Casual, rocking Facecap on native and killing at it.

A lot of other changes have been made. Fashion 20 years ago isn’t what it became 10 years ago, and it most certainly isn’t want it is now. Its a constantly self-modifying and reinventing concept. It is sometimes hard to keep track, not to talk of catching up. Sometimes before you notice the new trend, it would have become last seasons look, then becomes old fashion before you know it. Like i stated earlier on, it’s easy to understand where fashion is coming from now, but near impossible to tell where it’s headed tomorrow. That’s why i am a proponent of choosing style over fashion trends, because style is what you make it, fashion trends are what they are at the moment, and only at the moment.


2 thoughts on “African Men’s Fashion| Where we have been, where we are headed.

  1. Yes, style is definitely more constant that fashion. For those that wear traditional wear with sneakers, I guess that is a sensitive topic because some feel tradition should be preserved but then again style gives people freedom to try new things. It’s debatable but I think as long as people do not show outright disrespect to tradition, then it is okay.

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