Colonialism and Transformations in Yoruba Traditional Attires: The Lagos Experience

  • Oluwadara Fakunle Department of History, Osun State University, Nigeria
Keywords: Yoruba traditional attires, Colonialism, Transformation, Lagos, Culture and identity


The place of dress in human society has continued to arouse research-based interests, as a social issue. While some scholars have written on traditional attires and other social aspects of Lagos life, little has been documented on the impact of colonialism on traditional attires. This study focuses on the history of dresses in Lagos, especially the transformations in traditional attires synonymous with the city during the colonial period. The paper adopts historical narrative and multidisciplinary approaches to argue that the coming of the British influenced Lagos to a significant degree with the large number of repatriates from Sierra Leone, Brazil, and Cuba. As such, colonial Lagos witnessed a flirtation of varied dress cultures and transformations which at some point even threatened Yoruba traditional attires, given the introduction of western parse-garments, hats, makeup, shoes and other accessories; up to the point that Lagosians then, mostly youths, were wearing clothes more for the purpose of fashion rather than for covering. In all, the study is a revisit on Yoruba traditional attires in the context of the transformations which almost wipe them off in colonial Lagos.