Nigerian artists years back did more than just make music and imprint their lyrics in our hearts. Their lifestyles were gold mines we loved to observe and pick up as much as we could as growing youths. There was once a time when guys would be clad in these artists’ signature outfits and echoing their lingos was described as cool and dope, allegedly. Most youths wanted to be like them, talk like them, strike a pose like them, wanted to dress like them. We actually did end up doing things like them and while we cringe at the thought of it now, those were fun times.
One notable thing about Wizkid from his emergence into the music scene was his ability to brand his music visually with his discernible fashion sense, which was greatly influenced by hip-hop star, Lil Wayne. You never really lived till you dressed like Wizkid in his signatory skinny jeans, G-shock, snapback caps, flannel shirts and supra hightops. There came a period also when his branded tees, or probably Phyno’s Alobam tees were in high demand in the market. We’re not truly sure if these shirts were produced under the approval of these artists or Aba boys were simply being Aba boys, creative and hungry for some more money. Whichever it was, they made a fortune selling off these shirts. Wizkid remains a high influence in the Nigerian fashion style with his constant evolvement at every phase of his growth as an artist.
Yemi Alade’s creativity with Ankara materials remains unwavering, till today. “Mama Africa” as she’s called has made Afrocentric style her brand, her style, keeping it African one hundred. Believe it or not, I never knew Ankara clothing had so much potential other than the conventional dresses, skirts & blouses. Her stylist or possibly Yemi herself was on a creative streak when they made bikinis and bum shorts with Ankara. She basically breathed in the Ankara material. Yemi Alade had young girls thinking their tailors could beat the limit of the creative part of their heads by making anything they wanted using Ankara.
The likes of Runtown and Ice Prince turned ridiculous outfits into cool outfits, else why would you think agbada on sneakers or jalamia on sneakers and some snapback cap was admirable? You think of it now and snicker at the thought of it but trust me, that fit was amazing only if you had the right amount of confidence these artists had to pull it off.
Talking of ridiculous, let’s pitch in Falz, the guy with the ‘glasses without lenses’. Like Yemi Alade, he too made the fashion statement his brand. Some of us without the courage to wear an accessory like that opted for getting a pair of his signature vintage glasses, with the lenses intact of course.
While there are other fashion influences our artists managed to pull us into, these few highlighted were the movers and shakers of the 2011 – 2015 eras. Somehow, I hope this unconscious culture comes back and see the clamor for dressing like our artists, once again.