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Royalty flow in modish, classy Agbada

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Agbada is a four-piece attire originally worn by Yoruba men of southwestern Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, West Africa. Today, the attire is a must-have for men and women for upscale events. There was a time this traditional outfit was only worn by men, but over the years, a change occurred, which saw women also rocking it with panache. If you are looking for that outfit that will make you look classy at a church event or wedding, Agbada will help you achieve that. Celebrities like Iyabo Ojo, Mercy Aigbe and other notable faces have been seen rocking this stylish attire.

Adebayo Adegbe, Creative director of Modela Couture, said Agbada with medium to wide sleeves is commonly worn by A-class people, as it takes a lot of fabric to make them, from where it derives its name.

He said: “Voluminous Agbada dates back to the trans-Saharan era. It originates from an Arab merchant, who introduced the “riga” version of the agbada, which was copied and adapted by chiefs, kings (royalty), the rich and elite, among others, using their various rich indigenous fabrics, such as the hand woven aso oke, cotton and kijipa, among others. It is worn for special occasions such as wedding, chieftaincy installations, naming and burial ceremonies, among others.

“To make a modern agbada called danshiki depends on height, built, occasion and size of your fabric. You’ll need five to eight yards or even more, depending on how elaborate you want it to be, as well as the size of embroidery. Agbada is worn complete in the same fabric with embroidery on it. It comes as a four-piece essemble in buba, shokoto, danshiki (awotele), and the flowing agbada (awosoke), with fila (cap) made from the same fabric. The chiefs make and wear half shoe in same fabric.

“Today, new adaptations are in vogue, with a mix of two fabrics on the sleeve, smarter and knee length danshiki and agbada. Also, instead of the wide sleeve buba, it is now a smarter long-sleeved shirt-like design with cufflinks. It can be a mix of another fabric for the buba, instead of the complete in same fabric. Sometimes, plain and patterned fabrics are creatively mixed to achieve fantastic designs. 

“The colours are not left out. Now, more tinko and phoenix embroidery are used to make the attire beautiful and unique. Women are also rocking agbada today in different colours. Agbadas look more interesting in a variety of colours at hip length. Four to eight inches or more below the hip is also cool. Women rock their agbada with contrasting coloured headgears or even hats or turbans.”


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