Monday, April 19News For London

Nigerian fashion arrives in London

The fashion of Gele, a traditional head wrap from Nigeria, has arrived in London, as a group of African women organised a workshop on how to tie it.

Around 20 women joined the workshop, bringing cloths and drapes and wearing typical colourful clothes for the occasion. The majority of them were from Nigeria, but also some English and German women took part in the event.

The workshop took place on Sunday 29 October in Dalston, North-East London, during the Black History Month celebration party of the social centre for migrants, Akwaaba.

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The workshop involved around 20 women from different countries (photo: Alice Facchini)

During the workshop, the participants explained that they wear Gele not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because it has an important meaning in Nigerian culture, it bodes well for the future and it brings good luck.

Gele comes from the Western part of Nigeria and in particular from two cultures, Yoruba and Igbo. Women from these regions usually wear it at home, in the market and at church. On special occasions, such as birthday or wedding parties, they use more precious fabrics for the wrap.

Tying the Gele is an art in itself – it is very complicated and it requires great capacities, such as patience and precision. It can take from few minutes to hours, depending on the ability of the woman. This is why this tradition is disappearing and most Nigerian women have abandoned wearing the Gele.

(Subbing: Lia Chabane)