Happy New Year! This is a late-year opening fashion expose and prediction essay, hoping it meets you in good cheer and spirit. In recent times, as we bade goodbye to overplayed neutral minimalism in the Western fashion world, the Nigerian fashion world opened its arm to new-age simple elegance in the form of female Agbada. This specific trend in the Nigerian fashion industry was present in various forms from mid-2023 and it is hesitant to leave the fashion space. It is very much present in the Lagos Fashion Week 2024 designs and also in the GT bank fashion weekend.
This silhouette was previously reserved for stylish middle-aged women tagged ‘Rich Aunties’. Recently there has been a cultural shift in the Nigerian lifestyle culture into the ‘soft life era’ and the accompanying rapidly established ‘rich auntie aesthetic’. It is no wonder that people desiring of the effortless elegance offered by this aesthetic would embrace this one-piece garment. Simultaneously there has also been renewed interest in abayas among younger folks, the ultimate ‘rich auntie’ loungewear. It is a win-win situation where one gets to look elegant and classy with minimal effort, thus, creating the ultimate minimalist.
Young Nigerian influencers from all walks of life have been seen wearing Agbada, when they are looking for something elegant and minimalist but not in a clinical manner. A specific poster kid of this aesthetic would be Eniola Bolarin. Amy Okoli amongst others gets an honourable mention.
Nigerian brands that provide a modern visitation of this timeless garment are; Ejiro Amos Tafiri and Banke Kuku. These designers transform this classic silhouette into frilly works of art by incorporating organza and silk into the garment designs. A deviation from traditional designs which employed the use of stiff medium to heavy fabrics such as, Ofi, Aso–Oke, dry lace and starch stiffened Adire, Ankara, Kampala etcetera.
The renaissance of this Yoruba classic isn’t entirely new in the Nigerian Fashion industry. Agbada made the waves in the nineties and the earlier works of Ibudo Olodumare might be worth considering for a pioneer modern take on this beautiful fusing of airy fabric with classy tradition.
In the African fashion and lifestyle industry there has been a surge in revisiting the cultural root. Nigerian designers have been referencing traditional influences in their lifestyle and fashion designs for over two decades now and this flame only grows more prominent with time as reflected in the works of several indigenous designers (established and upcoming).
An honourable mention for contemporary fashion trends in 2024 would be bucket hats. Their surge in the alte fashion industry in 2018 might have calmed down but they have become a staple in Nigerian wardrobes. Fashion houses that provide beautiful statement piece bucket hats would include; Azach, a sustainable brand that up cycles reclaimed denim. Elie Kuame Univers an Ivorian-Lebanese brand which offers bucket hats as a recurrent piece in its 2024 collection. Ofuure makes use of Ankara in its consistent production of bucket hats as accessories to its multi-piece designs.
Written by Arowosegbe Yetunde
”A little about me.
My personality is being a writer and reader. I enjoy anything art. I dream about gallery strolls and love solitude at a park at sunset. I can be caught writing existential poetry and reviews but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t dip my feet into the waters of fashion, photography and other beautiful artistic things. In conclusion, I am Oliver I always want more”Arowosegbe Yetunde