Why I started supporting fashion and style from Africa
I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria where custom-made clothes was all I ever knew. It’s not uncommon to go to any tailor in Lagos, with a fabric you like and have them make something designed for you and only you. The $1 trillion global fashion industry is filled with influencers and tastemakers who can truly make or break people’s careers. But here is the problem, fashion and style from the West are too expensive. The cost of purchasing new clothes can be so high that you choose to save rather than purchase yet another fashion. I have been so amazed at how hard it is to find clothes or bags or accessories custom-made to my style or design without leaving my pockets bare. So why is this the case?
It turns out there is a simple explanation. The global fashion industry is dominated by a group of powerful people and media that have been able to keep prices of fashion very high. They have also managed to dominate what you and I should wear with their monthly publications or runway shows made up of what they believe are trendy. By making fashion an exclusive entity, they keep the prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from people like me and you who have no other options. So what to do?
I have decided to support African fashion because it allows me to express my identity and vision for what style should and ought to be. Since I began to delve into African fashion, I have been so amazed with array of colors and combinations that I can come up with, all custom-made to my sense of style. The first thing that I have noticed about myself is my love for head-wraps or turbans for any outfit that I am wearing. These headpieces make me feel so regal, something I could never dream of accomplishing with fast-fashion from the West. As if that’s not enough, I have started to swap styles with friends and family members, even using old wrappers from my mom’s closet, you know the ones they like to wear at African meetings and turning them into key fashion staples that I love. The older the material, the better for me as I believe in vintage African clothes too.
The future: Looking into consignment
I remember sharing with Sai my passion for her old clothes this summer. She laughed and laughed and thought I was joking. I was serious. You would too if you have seen some of the clothes she wears. Check her out her site here or just stroll through her Instagram feed to see why consignments just may be in my horizon soon and my first stop would be Sai’s closet. I am sure that we don’t wear the same size, but imagine the endless possibilities with her clothes. Nonetheless until then, I believe that African Fashion can be fun. If you are like me and would love to exchange gently worn and stylish African fashion maybe we can virtually meet one day (my email is isiomastylereport@ ). I really think that it would be a great idea to swap great styles with you at affordable prices. In fact, it just maybe the next big thing that would propel African Fashion to new heights, the same way sites like The RealReal have managed to do with reselling brand name clothes. When African Fashion consignment kicks off, just remember that you heard it first here