cultural changes that revolutionized fashion in Africa | The Guardian Nigeria News

Through Rukeve Ochuko

January 09, 2022 | 10:20 a.m.

African culture encompasses social values, political values, aesthetic values, morals and religion. As life advances, changes occur in the culture, and these changes are reflected in the customs, lifestyle and fashion of society. Today, African fashion has taken on a new dimension of style which has given rise to a dynamic representation through the influence of …

Ghana fashion must go. Photo: Obinna Obioma

African culture encompasses social values, political values, aesthetic values, morals and religion.
As life advances, changes occur in the culture, and these changes are reflected in the customs, lifestyle and fashion of society.

Today, African fashion has moved to a new dimension of style which has given rise to dynamic representation through the influence of changes in its culture.

Some of these important changes are;

Change in the definition of gender identity

From the design of packaging and other traditional clothing to the dress model, African fashion has always reflected the distinction between men’s and women’s clothing until now. The mindset of today’s generational designers in Africa is based on a mixture of gender identities and the need to create a contemporary style that merges these identities.

African cultural norms of previous years have put the fashion of the genre in a clear and differentiating state. Male and female fashion did not have a meeting point. African men’s clothing, including accessories, came in their specific style, and all men dressed in this style to identify themselves in African society as African men. The same goes for African women.
African culture of the past considered men’s clothing to be taboo for a woman and vice versa. Wearing clothes other than those considered worthy of your gender meant subjecting yourself to strong discriminatory judgments from society.

In addition, clothes and accessories to suit an unusual style were non-existent. So there was no room for self-expression or self-identity. Gender identification in Africa through fashion meant either a man or a woman, and every style creation resonated in accordance with this pact.

Currently, this is not the case today in Africa. The characteristic of being open-minded to fashion and exploring the endless possibilities of fashion has built a line of avant-garde African designers. Today’s designers have transformed themselves by creating a fashion style with mixes of identities. Neat and refined, yet inclusive of African elegance. More importantly, this reasoning ushered in the era of flowing African fashion.

Now women can rock out in menswear and men can strut in womenswear or non-gender based style.
Renowned African fashion designers such as Nigerian designer “Orange Couture” Adebayo Oke Lawal, designer “Maxivive” Papa Oyeyemi and young South African top designer Lukhanyo Mdingi are breaking gender constructions by adapting male silhouettes for women and by dressing the men in silk, shiny, transparent and long flowing fabrics. Individually, their brands are boldly sliding into the global haute couture space, and collectively, African fashion is gaining momentum globally.

Change in the fusion of cultural diversity

African fashion is quickly becoming a fusion tool for various cultural styles. African brands use the style to create a mix of meaningful subcultures.

In previous years, the various existing African cultures respectively presented style in their traditional definition of fashion. African fashion had borders, fashion lines which did not entail any possibility of integrating various styles into one.
Although fashion’s respective cultural identities still hold water in many African communities to this day, African fashion has now developed a fashion department with the makeup of different cultural fashion styles including the Western style. , still reflecting African heritage and identity.

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