African culture is popular around the world right now, with Afrobeats and African dancers on almost every screen.
For many decades the country has remained an arts epicenter. With Music, from the Afrobeats of Fela Kuti to experimental electro-funk by William Onyeabor and the boom of Nollywood,- the second most prolific on earth behind India’s Bollywood.
Here is our list of iconic moments in Nigerian Fashion History.
VICTORIA GOWON DURING QUEEN ELIZABETH'S VISIT IN 1971
The graceful and elegant Victoria Gowon is seen here posing with her husband- Nigeria's (then) Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Victoria Gowon is seen draped in cream Aso-Oke ‘gele’, and ‘iro’, with an elaborate lace ‘buba’ that matches her husband.
THE KALAKUTA QUEENS
Fela’s legacy is neverending, but the unsung heroes of the legacy he left behind are the Kalakuta Queens- women integral to his band. Best of all their vibrant, sensual, fashion was ahead of it’s time. Ultimately, these women showed that those outcast by society could be beautiful and express themselves freely.
OLUSEGUN OBASANJO'S VISIT TO THE WHITE HOUSE
Nigeria's then head of state, Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, paid an official visit to the United States e White House on 11 Oct 1977. It was the first trip by a Nigerian leader, and historically signaled a major diplomatic reconciliation between the United States and Sub- Saharan Africa’s richest and most populous country.
The event was memorialized in a legendary photo of the two leaders with Nigerian culture stealing the spotlight with the then head of state intricate woven ‘buba’, ‘sokoto’, and cap literally taking up space.
GRAVITY DEFYING HAIR
One cannot talk about iconic African fashion without paying homage to hair.
Hairstyles symbolized different life events, social statuses, and geographical areas and were often passed down through generations. They were usually nicknamed for the shapes they imitated, such as pineapples, crabs, or bridges, and reflect the uniqueness and diversity of Nigerian culture.
African women’s hair and traditional head ties, forming a series of both historical and anthropological significance for its immortalization.