The Velvet Fashion Trend

The vibrancy of velvet fabric as a fashion trend has been reawakened in Nigeria and as a result, it is gradually redefining the place of Ankara in the fashion scene

By Chinwe Okafor  |  Feb. 24, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

THE Nigerian fashion industry has experienced tremendous growth since 70s and is today making a great impact in the fashion world. In the 70s and 80s, clothes were not necessarily worn for the ‘wow’ statement.  During this period, there were no fashion varieties both in clothes, hairstyle, shoes and other accessories. But in the past few months, the vibrancy in velvet fabric has been reawakened and it’s gradually redefining the place of Ankara in the fashion scene.

The fabric has evolved and become the perfect choice for hot and up-to-the-minute styles. Velvet fabrics now come in a variety of styles which include gowns, wrappers and skirts among others and are made into several fashion accessories like shoes, bags bangles and others. Velvet, an ancient fabric, which is made from silk thread, continues to offer numerous style options for those who are eager to push the fashion trend.

Literally, everyone is wearing velvet to weddings and to special events all over the country and it’s really a beautiful classic fabric. Ifunanya Nduka, an undergraduate of Abia State University, is of the view that the velvet fabric is better when it is combined with a matching lace which is brighter because the brighter the colour the better the trend. She said that the good thing about the trend is that one can let the style reflect her personality and can also decide to tie the velvet as a long wrapper. It can also be worn as oleku.

Asoebi ladies rocking the velvet fabric
Asoebi ladies rocking the velvet fabric

Similarly, Adaeze Njoku, a graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, said she likes to look trendy with any latest fashion in vogue. “I like the velvet fabric because it’s very comfortable and easy to wear. I just want to go with the fashion trend of the new age and I find it very interesting to boldly express myself through colours. I just want to look good and trendy at all times and wear what makes me feel good.”

Anuli Nwabueze, who deals on velvet fabric at the Lagos Island market, said what fascinates her about all of this is that no matter whatever direction fashion chooses to go, the traditional fashion never loses its value. According to her, fabric business has been worthwhile because the clothing fabric has become finer, less heavy, non-itchy and available in varieties. She explained that African material which has a combination of art, colour, design and history has been in high demand and is not so expensive. She said that the fabric sells for N2, 500 and above while there are also cheaper ones that could be sold for between N1, 000 and N2, 000.

In the words of Onyinye Uzondu, a fashion designer, velvet is a fabulous trend people especially women can’t take their eyes off. “I thought I had seen it all with the creative ankara designs but not until the super sassy velvet came calling. The velvet embroidered fabric, combined with French lace or sequins, is now the most sought- after asoebi attire for every fashion-forward looking woman. At many weddings today, you can’t easily take your eyes off the new stunning velvet wrapper or skirt,” she said. According to her, it is not that expensive to design one, as one dress could go for between N4, 000 and N8, 000 and even more depending on the style and circumstance.

Velvet, popularly known as Akwa oche in Nigeria comes in a variety of colours and styles. Until lately, velvet was exclusively for the rich and the royalty. With its re-entry into the market, people now can afford it and   make exquisite apparels ranging from gowns, dresses, blouses, skirts and other designs from it.