When I first heard of the wear “MADE IN NIGERIA” campaign, I could not contain my excitement. My Nigerian heritage is incredibly important to me because I am an international student in the United States who is a thousand miles away from home, give or take. So, my way of bringing home just a little bit closer is wearing my “African print” designs at any opportunity I get. However, I would not have these outfits without the one person who helps brings my designs to reality, “Iya Suliat”. She is my personal dress designer (or as Nigerians say- tailor) who makes most of the outfits I wear. She is the muscle behind every single one of my clothes and does not get enough credit for this. This is probably because most of these designers and tailors do not get represented enough in mainstream culture or by the Nigerian fashion industry. So first, SHOUT OUT TO “IYA SULIAT” for always slaying me.
I know, I know, you lot are probably wondering why this is important to you or why I needed to write an entire blog post on my amazing outfits and my pride for my Nigerian tailor, well, something pretty cool happened recently. My favorite author, Chimamanda Adichie (You know… the voice of feminism in Beyonce’s song Flawless… yes she is flawless and fabolous) announced the “Wear Nigerian Project” which is basically aimed at supporting local designers back home in Nigeria. Her project was in part started because of the lack of exposure some very talented designers in Nigeria struggle with. She advocates for a lot more people to wear and shop local Nigerian designs and support local businesses, which by the way is awesome and I love her! (I am a fan sue me).
My love for my culture and its values knows no bounds and if I can celebrate this every day I would love to. Now I really have an excuse to strut down downtown Lafayette in my African print clothes and I can tell anyone who looks at me sideways that I am supporting my local designers while looking fabulous, It’s a WIN! WIN!. There are several Instagram stores like Dashiki Pride, FrancisandBenedict, Grass_fields and many more that sell African print designs including myself, with my Ankara purses (Shameless plug), so there is no excuse not to shop and support these budding designers.
So here is the takeaway from this post for whoever is reading this: You have no excuse to wear boring clothes! Go out and shop local boutiques and designer and support the several online Instagram designers who have amazing designs and are just a click away. It does not have to be with Nigerian fashion, it could be with your local boutique down the bayou or right across the street because who knows, you might be wearing the next huge name.
Outfit Details (Made In Nigeria)
Wrapper (Iro)- Iya Suliat
Top (Buba)- Iya Suliat