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There’s more to fashion than what meets the eyes. It’s more than colors. The unique clothing of African people goes beyond covering the body.

One that we find really fascinating is the traditional attire of the Idoma people in West Africa–the second largest ethnic group of Benue State, Nigeria.

They are known for having such a beautiful and appealing red and black signature when it comes to clothing.

Black is beautiful and everybody loves it. It signifies many things and one that is common is its representation of darkness or evil, or death. Black and red are the color representation of Manchester United–the football club in England is proudly hailed as the Red Devils. Who knows why? Tell us on the comment section 🙂

For the Idoma people, is a bit far from that. As a matter of fact, it’s speak positivity and growth. It symbolizes earth generally. The black is also known as Apa or Edema.

The red color on the other hand, signifies the royalty of the Idomaland and the rich cultural heritage. 

Events and Rituals

At burials, Edema can be worn completely without the red as a sign of mourning and with the red it goes to show respect for the dead.

The Idoma fashion comes with its unique style. For example, the leader of the ethnic group, usually carries a red feather on his crown.

The men and women have their individual designs cut out for them. At local meetings, men are often found wearing a cap with a muffler around their neck or just resting on the shoulders. While, women are always seen wearing head gear and wrappers.

Modern Fashion Touch

Culture is beautiful but I sometimes don’t like it when it’s tight. Many would agree, that’s why when they move to the big cities they kinda loose a bit to make things look more catchy and seductive like the best pizza in Italy. But as long as the Edema and red ain’t missing you’re still on the cultural track 🙂 walk with head high feeling Idoma.

 

By Elijah Christopher 

 

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Elijah Christopher is a lifelong creative artist and a journalist for “A New Touch Of Africa”, an American news media and magazine focusing on Africa-related issues, fashion, new technologies and innovations. He has contributed to several published works, most notably a collaborative poem celebrating Scottish poet Edwin Morgan and in 2021 was the winner of the DIAJ Award for his photo-artistry.

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