….REDEFINING AFRICANISM THROUGH FASHION
The world has evolved into a global village where different cultures clash. Globalization has been partly facilitated by technology but primarily globalization is an offshoot of colonialism and imperialism. The drums, bells and joy of independence in several colonies around the world most especially Africa are historic and noteworthy, yet neither the African world that existed before colonialism nor the world in the minds of these freedom fighters have come to be. An Africa where Africans will not only be Africans by birth but also Africans by deeds.
African nations have gain independence indeed yet several decades after, we still exist like a second-class citizen, a caricature of the west in the global space. We are African by birth yet the words from our mouths, the ideologies in our heads, the clothes on our bodies, our systems are not too excellent mimicry of the west. Our pupils in school are only privilege to dress in their cultural attire only on African day. Invariably, in their first twenty years in school which is their formation age, they are allowed to look African only twenty times. A large number of that population do not only acquire English as their first language but also their only language.
Cultural alienation is a pandemic much worse than corona virus. It is unfortunate it is not enjoying the needed media attention and civil debate. Of what use is an African body with a hoax western mind? Can we be whiter than the whites? The trend of reducing Africa and Africans into caricature of the western world must stop. Africa is not the mass of land blessed with some wild life or natural resources, Africa is our culture, our language, our heritage, our dressing, our traditional technology and mechanism which are fast fading away!
We need to be Africans not only by birth or the colour of our skins, but also by the ideologies in our heads, by the languages in our mouth, by the dress on our body. Every sphere of our life must be decolonize including fashion. The erroneous believe that African wears are met for informal and less serious occasions while western attires are ideal for formal settings needs to be reformed.
Although African prints have taken a place of pride in the global scene yet there is more to African fashion than Ankara. We need to take the declonisation and deconstruction of fashion further just like Fela did to music. Fela Anikulapo decolonise music and create a new genre called Afro beat which its different subgenre are now going haywire across the globe, breaking different records, boosting our economy, and bagging different awards.
At M.R design, we dare to say there are functional African themed clothes for every event/occasion type. Our mission is to redefine Africanism through fashion. We look forward to Africans being Africans not only by the colour of their skin but by the robes on their body which should showcase our rich heritage. We envision a future where Africans through their fashion style will not only stand out but stand tall in every space, on every stage and in any corner of the world.
About the author:
Maraiyesa Ayokunle is an indigene of Ago Iwoye, Ogun state, Nigeria. She is a graduate of English Language from National Open University of Nigeria. She bagged her M.A English Literature from Olabisi Onabanjo University. She is currently running her Ph.D. English Literature programme at Olabisi Onabanjo University. She is a fashion entrepreneur, the creative director of M.R design.M.R design is a unisex fashion house that deals in bespoke tailoring, mass production, sales of fabrics, fashion school and ready to wear. She is also the event convener of Ijebu Fashion Festival. She has a YouTube channel, views with ‘Kunle where she converse with guest on unvoiced and not too popular perspective to life. She is a public speaker, she loves art, writing and God.