2nd part of Assignment 1
I'm posting this assignment late as it was only recently I managed to speak to a Nigerian friend based in London who provided me with the information I needed to complete it.
My starting points were a random visit some time ago to an African Pentecostal church service and a photograph of the subject of this assignment in a striking dress she designed and had made for a special occasion organised by members of her community.
Struck by the elegance and general fabulousness of the Pentecostal womens' church outfits, and by my friend's glamorous and slightly risque take on a traditional Nigerian outfit, I asked her what African women in London typically wear to formal events including church services and whether her own choices reflect that standard. I found out that although Africans in general often wear outfits made of traditional fabric to such events the type and pattern of the fabric varies depending on the country and the tribe of the woman wearing it. For example Nigerians often wear Western style dresses, skirts and blouses made of Ankara fabric or lace whereas Ghanean women favour a black and white material specific to their culture. My friend enjoys alternating western style clothing with more traditional garb depending on her mood. The common denominator is an immaculate and well groomed appearance.
Regarding more festive and informal occasions within London's African communies including those where one might want to attract a potential date and/or indicate one's socioeconomic status, several factors come into play. Beautiful accessories are universal symbols of femininity and class but elaborately beaded jewelery in particular is favoured by African women looking to make a seductive impact. Also, a custom tailored dress with a high level of artistry and originality in its cut and silhouette signifies means and feminine flair. The dress I mentioned at the outset is a draped, fitted gown made from traditional fabric with a thigh split and keyhole sections in the waist. My friend explained that it was designed both to honour her Nigerian roots and to communicate her own style and personality.
With thanks to S. for her help with this assignment.
Links of interest
www.alibaba.com - overlook the web site's name and check it out for a huge selection of African and Middle Eastern clothing and jewelery.
www.iloverelationship.com/latest-nigeria-ankara-styles/ - some great examples of contemporary fashions made from Ankara fabric.
Will post more as I find them.