By Ike A.Offor (Traditional Fashionista)
Many have sewn and worn the fashion style known as ‘senator’ without comprehending the origin of that specific fashion style. Many Nigerians both male and female could hardly tell the story or history behind the name ‘senator’ given to the fashion style that is largely wore by people of Igbo origin and their cousins in the rest of Niger-Delta region.
The fashion has lately gained much recognition across the wide and breadth of the country. It is indisputably correct to say that senator is now accepted across the entire country as a very dynamic fashion style the is rapidly becoming a national attire. Of course, that is not going to quickly replace the old traditional attire or regalia It could be perhaps due to the fact that is it made best with suit materials than most material for our traditional attire.
The name senator came from the fact that the first person who wore it for the very first time in our national history was indeed a senator. The man is an Igbo chief, and a national figure too. The man in question is Senator Anyiam Pius Anyiam. He was the first person who wore the material when he was the Senate President under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government. So, the reason people gave this fashion style the name senator.
Senator, is not exactly an Igbo and their Niger-delta cousins’ traditional attire or regalia. But it is the same in terms of design and looks. There is no difference in the design or except that it is not made with the traditional ‘isi Agu’ (Tiger head ) designs or prints but a plain suit material.
If one looks at the traditional regalia of all people from the Lower Niger or the Delta region, which includes the Igbos, their men traditional clothes or fashion is the same. The only thing they use to differentiate themselves from their cousins is their hats. While the Igbos have their round red, or white or black hats (depending back in the days, on traditional title status), their cousins from the rest of the Niger delta have the broad or wide black hat like that wore by the former president Dr Goodluck Ebelechukwu Jonathan.
Senator Ayiam Pius Ayiam has been a very fashion icon who singlehandedly transformed or modified fashion in Nigeria, who much accolade should be given to. If he didn’t come up with such idea to make Igbo traditional regalia with a suit material, we would not have had ‘senator’ in our national fashion today.
So, so much credit has to be given to him for such massive contribution to our fashion. Though, he didn’t need much thought about it because the design and everything else about it came from the traditional Igbo and their Niger-Delta cousin traditional regalia design. The only difference was the material, which is the typical suit material.
Like it is seen here the youths are very much very comfortable to wear the senator anywhere or to any occasion. That is partially not the same with the heavily designed traditional regalia or attire. Hence the reason senator has been widely accepted by other youths from other parts of Nigeria, out side the Niger-Delta area and the rest.
One could see that the current Special Adviser of the current president on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, wears more senator than any other attire though he is not from the Lower Niger area. That is the demonstration that the fashion has been widely accepted by all across the entire country. It looks wonderful and very good for all occasions, even for work.
There you see that the influence of one man in fashion trend could transform the entire fashion style and trend. So, many thanks to Senator Anyiam Pius Anyiam for bringing ‘senator’ an-Igbo-and-Niger-Delta-cousin’s -tradional-attire made with a suit material.
It is lighter, fashionable, and meant for every occasion, including work. That is why senator is now quickly becoming a national iconic fashion style that is acceptable to all irrespective of ethnic background. But all thanks to Senator Anyiam Pius Anyiam and his Igbo and Niger-Delta traditional attire background.
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