Women’s Fashion

In Jidenna’s music video “Classic Man”, a lot of emphasis is put on the fashion of Jidenna as well as all of the other men in the video. They are look very stylish and classy throughout the entire video, perfectly exhibiting the true “Classic Man” look that I discussed in my last post. After focusing so strongly on the male fashion and it’s importance, I rewatched the video to explore the other side of things and check out what was going on with the women’s fashion. With the center of attention on the sharp-dressed men in the video, it is likely that the women go unnoticed. The women’s attire changes throughout the video from sophisticated, to elegant, to other unique style choices and got me interested in looking into the history of women’s fashion, specifically in Nigeria. I was intrigued in seeing this because the focus of the video is on the men and their dress, so you’d think that the female side of it wouldn’t play as large of a role as it does.

Fashion has always played an important role in Nigerian lifestyle, because they take great pride in what they are wearing. In the 1960s, Shade Thomas-Fahm played a large role in the fashion industry of Nigeria. Women’s fashion included fitted and oversized silhouettes and mini-skirts similar to the style still found in Europe at the time. This is because Nigeria was very fresh off of post-colonialism. The 1970s were more of a funky and hip period, where there there was an increasing attraction to different proportions in clothing. Women often wore oversized sleeves with high-waist wrappers. The 1980s came around and a label called Labenella Creations played a large and popular part in the fashion industry. The label provided Nigeria’s women with kaftans, which are long loose dresses, and culottes, which are flowy knee-length pants. The 1990s proved to be a very hectic time in terms of military rule in Nigeria, so many designers left to work in other countries. A designer named Ade Bakare Couture kept prominent presence in Nigeria by organizing fashion shows and dressing Nigerian women. (Rovine) Something else that I found interesting was the different purposes that fashion can serve for women. For example, fashion may be used to improve social status, express the nature of society, or serve as a form of control in society. Fashion can also facilitate change, like when women dress in ways that reject their traditional female role. (Lauer)

What’s interesting about all the quick changes in Nigerian fashion is that it seems as if the music video tries to incorporate it all. There are many women in the background of the video, and their outfits are constantly changing. Each woman’s style also differs from the woman next to her as well. I think the different outfit changes each send a different message, referring to what I mentioned earlier in my post about what roles fashion played in women’s lives. The part that caught my attention the most was in the information regarding the 1960s, where it mentions how the style during that time was still a bit like the European fashion because of the recent switch to post-colonialism. I thought that this would relate to the class well because we often discuss about different African countries, and their move towards independence away from European countries. It is interesting to see that as the years go on, we see the fashion move further and further away from looking like European. As time goes on, we see less European influence in the fashion, as they are in the process of becoming their own nation, just as we often discuss in class. Thanks for reading, until next time!


Admin. “A Brief History of Nigerian Fashion – Grey Velvet.” Grey Velvet, greyvelvetstores.com/a-brief-history-of-nigerian-fashion/.

LAUER, JEANETTE C., and ROBERT H. LAUER. “Fashion.” The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 4: Myth, Manners, and Memory, edited by CHARLES REAGAN WILSON, University of North Carolina Press, 2006, pp. 61–64. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9781469616704_wilson.17.

Rovine, Victoria L. “Reinventing Local Forms: AFRICAN FASHION, INDIGENOUS STYLE.” African Fashion, Global Style: Histories, Innovations, and Ideas You Can Wear, Indiana University Press, 2015, pp. 107–155. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt16gzk24.7.


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