Today, our Nigerian fashion designer wants to tell you some Nigerian stories. Have you heard about the Yoruba Culture? At U.Mi-1 we want to make people connect with Africa, this incredibly beautiful land.
Therefore, every 3 seasons, we dedicate our collections to a particular tribe. For SS18, we showcased “The Revellers” collection, the third collection celebrating the Yorubas from the South West.
Let’s talk about this amazing culture in the next paragraphs, describing how it has been able to influence the music world and fashion as well. This African ethnic group, comprised of 105 million people in total is part of our daily inspiration.
Yoruba Fashion and Culture
The three things that we identify with being Yoruba are the Eyo Festival, tribal marks, and Aso-Oke, a 15cm-width hand-woven traditional cloth.
Clothing plays a big part in showing wealth which is always on display at high brow parties and weddings. As a result, the Yorubas are renowned for their exquisite clothing. And that’s not all!
We marvel at the versatility of this thin piece of cloth, stitched together to make flowing wide-sleeved robes (“agbada”) worn by men, or skirt and blouse (“iro” and “buba”) worn by women. Our Revellers collection takes inspiration from these construction techniques.
From the Talking Drum to Afrobeats
Music is a very prominent aspect of Yoruba culture. After all, a great party needs music. The Yorubas know how to shake a leg; their grandiose Owanbe parties are legendary. They developed a highly sophisticated genre of griot music centering on an hourglass-shaped drum (“Talking drum”).
The talking drum is one of the oldest instruments still played by West Africans today. It derives its name from the pitch of the drum, which can be varied to mimic the tone patterns of speech. Consequently, it was also used by villages to warn each other of impending danger.
Tribal marks are playing an important role in Yoruba culture, music and in fashion as well. Those are signs of identity, something easy to get in every form of art and communication.
What Makes Yoruba Clothing Unique
The Revellers: in the 20th century the talking drum became a very popular part of music in West Africa. As music evolved, High Life music replaced the talking drum at weddings and spread across Nigeria.
Musicians like King Sunny Ade incorporated the Talking drum in his music, known as Juju music. But the Yorubas would also have Fela Kuti, my favourite artist, as their son. He invented Afrobeat which has now morphed into Afrobeats. This is now the world’s pop music. We run tins.
This is a very exciting time for U.Mi-1 as we launch our e-commerce shop. We hope to be dancing too as the brand grows. We hope to keep you engaged and entertained as the Yorubas do. So, watch this space for beautiful shirts, like our last yellow shirt for men, our trousers, and jackets!