Ankara, has changed the face of the Nigerian fashion industry with what could be done with it.
2017, showed what was done with the Ankara fabrics by Nigerians who have become very bold in promoting the colourful material all over the world.
Nigerian fashion designers have also set a wide pace for other fashion designers in Africa by introducing different designs, when fashion lovers already though, they have seen all that could be done with Ankara.
Here are Ankara designs that make statement in 2017…
Gone are the days, when the flowing wide sleeved native attire popularly known as Agbada by the yoruba’s and babariga by the hausa’s are worn by older men. Today Agbada, has become an outfit that’s worn by both the young and old, across all the tribes in Nigeria.
The improvement on the design by fashion designers as made it more appealing to younger men unlike what was obtained in the past.
These days, Agbada, are sewn according to the preference of the wearer unlike before when it used to be sewn flowing down to the ankle and with more material.
Men are now stepping out at event looking stylish in agbada. Some have theirs sewn above the knee, below the knee or flowing around the ankle.
It’s not uncommon to see Nigerian musician dressed in agbada, in their musical video these days. Even women have become bold enough to wear it. Agbada, has also become the preferred traditional outfit for children, for special occasions.
How you want your agbada to look depend on how stylish you are.
‘I Don’t tie Gele’ ‘I hate Gele’ ‘Gele is for grandmothers’ those were the words you often hear from women especially young ladies in the past but now, the story has change with the ways Gele also know as head wrap, as metamorphosed. 2017, has seen Gele become the trendiest way to compliment outfits.
(Gele specially known as a traditional headgear for Yoruba since the pre-colonial era and Igbos, as now become a universal headgear for everyone in Nigeria and outside the shore of the country. Gele is now a complimentary item to complete an outfit.
It has now become a must do for ladies at social function. Making them stand out and be the cynosure of all eyes especially with a nice makeup. Those who are in the craft of tieing Gele are also updating their craft by coming out with different styles.
Gele can be tied in with different types of material and the result are always beautiful. Gele can be tie with Ankara, Aso-oke, velvet, Dasmask and many more and accessories such as stones, trimming and pearl are now added to help beautify it more.
Now there are different ways to tie Gele and they are absolutely amazing. There is the Infinity pleats, Ayaba, fan, side rose, front rose, zigzag, multiple pleat and more.
Gele also known as head wrap compliment different traditional outfit but is absolutely amazing when worn with the Yoruba traditional outfit Iro-wapper and blouse-buba.
You can’t help but notice bridegrooms looking very beautiful with their different types of gele styles at weddings.
Gele tieing has also become a means of livelihood for some Nigerians now unlike before when only a few Nigerians are involved in the craft.
Different types of Gele…
It’s a well-known fact that nollywood actor cum model, Alex Ekubo, has a refined taste when it comes to fashion.
The actor who is known for wearing well sewn and designed outfits has been partnered by well-known Lagos fashion designer, Yomi Makun, but better known as Yomi Casual.
The actor who has a panache for comfort, simplicity, proved his prowess in designing with his partnership with Yomi Casual ready to wear brand and also models his designs for fashion loving men to see.
Ekubo, who is happy about the development took to his instagram page to announce the partnership ‘Growing up, I’ve always wondered what it will be like designing a collection for the public. What will be my key areas of focus? Well for me, comfort is key.
I always want to not just be seen as comfortable in whatever I’m wearing, but to actually be comfortable in it, also, less is more – so less dramatic designs and a more subtle statement piece that screams BOSS AND MATURITY. Hence the creation of the new ALEX EKUBO FOR YOMI CASUAL COLLECTION’ he said.
In Nigeria fashion industry today, the Yomi Casual brand has carve a niche for itself as a brand to be reckon with when it comes to good designs and neat finishing.
That Ankara fabrics has become an important fashion item in Nigeria is undisputable. It is now the most used material for fashionable men and women.
Ankara has become undisposable more for women because of the many things that could be done with it.
In 2017 the true uniqueness of the Ankara fabric which was used for beautiful outfits by designers changed the fashion scene. The trendiest of it all is the high waist skirt. The brightness and patterns of Ankara fabrics has made using it for skirt more desirable for women.
The pleasure of mixing tradition with modern has made more women to go for the Ankara high-waist skirt in different style.
Moreso, the way the Ankara high-waist skirt makes every woman look proportionate no matter the woman’s size or height has made it more popular with women.
The high-waist skirt brings out the femininity in every woman with the way it accentuate their waist making it narrower than the natural size, whether it a maxi, pencil, mini, pleated, frock or knee length.
It is ideal style for women with boyish frame because it makes them look more ladylike. The skirt elongates the body of short women making her look taller and slimmer.
Women with full curvy body enjoy wearing the high-waist skirt because it makes their large waist looks narrower and hips slimmer. The multicolor and brightness help hide their large shape well.
styling the Ankara high waist skirt depends on the wearer. The skirt can be styled with frills on the side or bottom. slits can be added to show off the leg.
From crop tops, turtleneck, body suit, denims, longs-sleeves, short-sleeves, the list of tops to wear with the Ankara high-waist skirts are endless.
The Ankara high-waist skirt can be rock with different types of jewelry. From chunky to small jewelry depending on the taste of the woman.
It also works with all types of shoes from high-heels, wedges and sandals.
Abeti aja, the Yoruba traditional cap with triangle flaps at the bottom on both side, named after dog ears is the trendiest fashion item for men now.
The cap have now become the favorite cap for men at social events especially by grooms. One major thing of note is that it’s no longer worn by the Yoruba alone now but by all tribes.
The cap are handmade with hard traditional woven cloth called Aso-oke or ofi which are woven on a loom.
The abeti aja cap can be worn with all types of traditional attire dansiki, buba and sokoto but it is best worn with agbada and also styled in whatever way the wearer wants. Though, it can come in plain colour. A real Yoruba abeti-aja cap is made of two distinctive colours. A dark colour which is the major background and a lighter colour which comes in straps.
Years back, young and even some older ladies wouldn’t be caught wearing ankara fabrics. To them, it’s a clothing material for people of rural areas, those without modern ideas of what fashion should be.
However, since 2014 the Ankara fabrics has changed the face of the Nigerian fashion industry with its astounding usefulness and its flexibilities in whatever ways it’s used.
It has gone beyond the clothing material used by the locals to make the popular fashion dress known as Iro and buba.
It’s now a must have fashion item for every modernized young and old fashion loving individuals to make do with whatever they desires.
The Ankara fabrics need has also moved from the African market to the international runways and market promoting the African culture. Celebrities and none celebrities are now wearing it and demanding for more of it varieties of designs.
In 2016 and in 2017, the Ankara need further skyrocketed when fashion designers changes everything. When they came out with different designs of Ankara dresses.
The skillfullness with which these fashion designers are making various red carpet dresses, mini dress, skirt, shirt and trousers and other fashion items such as bags, shoes, belt and earrings changes it demand and desire by women and even men to have them.
There’s the cutting out bold prints from the ankara fabrics and placing it on plain materials in different ways. This could be used for shirt, trousers and dresses.
And it could be embellished with stones of various shades, shape and embellished with other trimmings which are in trend.
A dress, shirt and skirt can also be made with different patterns of Ankara called patches making it very colourful.
Ankara manufacturers seeing that the demand for ankara has soared step up their games by creating eye-catching designs to suit their customers needs.
With the recent way that the Ankara fabrics has been accepted all over the world, it is a fact that it is not fading out of the fashion industry soon but has come to stay.
The organiser of Miss Nigeria pageant has flagged-off preparations for thecelebration of 60th anniversary of Miss Nigeria scheduled to hold in November aimed at show casing attributes of Nigerian women and fostering unity among Nigerians.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, Tuesday, to intimate the media on the event, which started in January this year, the Executive Director of Miss Nigeria Organisation, Dr. May Ikeora, said that all arrangements have reached advanced stage to achieve a successful multi-faceted celebration.
“Miss Nigeria is 60 years today. Founded in 1957, when we were trying to secure Nigeria’s independence, it was a more symbolic pageant specifically formed to promote peace and unity in Nigeria, which it has continued to achieve,” she said.
“Today, we celebrate Miss Nigeria at 60. We have come a long way. It is another chance to refresh and search for what we can do better for Nigeria. How do we change with Nigeria and how do we make contributions to make Nigeria better?” former Miss West Africa added.
In continuing, she however, emphasised that the only way the pageant can be improved upon was for them to achieve the goals they had set.
“We have been working so hard from last year, especially, trying to make sure that Miss Nigeria as an organisation is clear with its objectives,” she stressed.
She mentioned the key elements of Miss Nigeria pageant, which include; the pageant itself, the women empowerment element as its vision today is empowering women beyond beauty, sustainable and long term project such as Green-Girl project, which is reviewed every five years, and the culture and heritage.
“Every Miss Nigeria surpasses what her predecessor did. It brings value to our community and the sponsors. Every year from last year, Miss Nigeria takes a state or two and promotes their culture and heritage. Last year, the girls wore Benin attire on stage thereby promoting Benin culture.
“We want a strong Miss Nigeria. We want to bring back pageantry better than what it used to be. It is unfortunate that we have too many pageants today that diluted pageantry, we don’t want that anymore”, she said.
She revealed that they would continue to use Miss Nigeria as a platform to showcase who a beauty queen should be. According to her, Miss Nigeria is not a perfect girl but the everyday girl that represents the entirety of Nigeria and implored Nigerians to support her.
“Miss Nigeria embodies an intelligent and beautiful woman that understands her identity as a Nigerian. It is not about beauty or whether a girl is from East, West North or South. Last year, we had more girls from the Northern part of Nigeria that contested for the pageant. We don’t want a girl from a particular ethnic group but, a Moslem or a Christian from any state that will represent who we are as human beings,” she explained.
She summed up her statement by saying that the 60th anniversary is an avenue for them to tell Nigerians and the world that the pageant is bigger, stronger and better.
“This is Miss Nigeria, well structured to promote peace, unity and our rich cultural heritage,” Ikeora added.
In the same vein, Special Project Expert, Edi Lawani, said that Miss Nigeria has a lot of history comprising visual and spectacle that goes through stages of selection, training, boot camp and the grand finale.
He maintained that the need to ensure that the event is recorded and stored for generations yet unborn to watch is by storing it in a recorded form.
“From the technical point of view, moving forward, we shouldn’t make a mistake like in the past. To capture it properly, that is where we come in to ensure the technical requirement is put together,” he said.
“This year, we will ensure Miss Nigeria is presented in a way it can be termed world class that will make it engaging for people to want to watch after that day,” he said
Also speaking, the 40thMiss Nigeria, Chioma Obiadi, the current queen, said she has used the platform to orientate girls and women through Green-Girl project she inherited from her successor.
“While growing up, I wanted to be Miss Nigeria because it is ambassadorial. I would like young people looking up to Miss Nigeria to know that it is not about beauty but, for projection of peace and unity in Nigeria,” she explained.
The 22-year-old 200 level student of Geography and Meteorology, Namdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, reiterated that the 60 years old pageant has a lot of weight on her shoulders.
“It has been amazing. I have built my intellectual strength from being the queen,” she revealed.
It would be recalled thatthe winner of the maiden edition of the Miss Nigeria, Mrs Grace Oyelude, clocked on December 19, 2016, the day the 40th Miss Nigeria, Chioma Obiadi, was crowned.
The organisers of Miss Nigeria, in one accord stated that they would do all they could to sustain the pageant and ensure it continues to serve its purpose of bringing peace, unity and progress to Nigeria.
They revealed that they had written letters to the American President, Donald Trump, individuals, organisations and some multinational companies, intimating them about the world class event that has interesting programmes that would thrilled Nigerians and the world.
Established in 1957, the pageant which holds every year aims to showcase the positive attributes of Nigerian women and also serves as a platform used in uniting Nigeria.