On a recent trip to the Baagi cloth market my host mom had me on the lookout for fabrics with images and symbols that do not relate to African culture.She is writing a paper about how these foreign symbols are coming to be recognized and accepted in Africa through clothing alone. My job as her Oyinbo daughter/assistant was to convince the cloth sellers to let me take pictures of the cloth, something that is not really accepted in these markets. We made up a crafty story that I was buying fabric for my friends in the U.S. and I wanted to photograph the cloth to show them what it looked like (in reality I would never ever select these cloths for my friends.)
Almost all of the cloth you see in the markets here is imported from Europe.It is curious why certain images and symbols that are so random to this culture appear all over clothing and it surprises me that you see a lot of Nigerians actually wearing them! I’ve seen women wearing iro and buba and men wearing buba and shokoto covered with multicolored unicorns, computers, hammers, whales, planets and spaceships. Iro and buba, and the buba and shokoto for men are traditional Yoruba outfits so it seems contradictory to wear computers and planets when these images have nothing to do with traditional Yoruba culture.