By Tarek Taha, CBC NewsA Nigerian fashion designer says you don’t need to wear a gangster’s look to be cool in Nigeria.
“You can look like a gang member and look good, you can wear gang clothes, you don.e,l.o.e,” says S.A. Mabunbe.
He has a collection of clothing, footwear, hats and accessories for men and women.
“You can wear a sari, a jacket and a pair of pants, that’s cool, you go to a store, buy a t-shirt, go to the gym, whatever,” he says.
“We have this trend, a lot of guys who don’t even know it, wearing the sari or a bandana, but it’s actually a lot more fun, it’s more of a fashion thing.”
If you don’t wear it, people won’t know that you’re a gang-member.
“But Mabuntbe says gangster-style clothing is not necessarily the most popular trend in Nigeria, especially in the capital Abuja, where people dress up like gangsters in a street fight.”
The trend is going to come back to Abuja and other cities, because there’s so much people wanting to dress up as gangsters,” he said.”
In the past there was a lot less gangster clothing, and now people dress like gang members and they don’t wear the gang clothing anymore.
“The trend has been gaining traction across Nigeria in recent months.
The city of Abuja was the first to introduce a new style of street clothing, with more street vendors offering their wares in what looks like an homage to gangster films like The Maltese Falcon and The Godfather.
Many of these shops are located on streets where gangsters were known to live and sell their waives.”
We have the gangster style, it has a lot to do with the fact that gangsters are considered the leaders of gangs, the top guys of the gangs.
So when you wear a look like that, you’re actually saying that you belong to that gang,” Mabunde said.
But not everyone agrees with that.
The head of Nigeria’s Public Security Agency, Ngaume Yiboue, said the trend is creating confusion and insecurity.”
I think it’s creating an illusion, it is creating a perception that we’re not doing anything.
But we are trying to address it.
The gangs are trying very hard to stop people from wearing gangster clothes, but the police don’t really have the power to stop it,” Yibougue said.
There are people who have made money from it, some people have been convicted. “
I think we’ll take it to the courts,” he warned.
“There are people who have made money from it, some people have been convicted.
They will get a slap on the wrist, and we will deal with it,” Mabbunbe said.
He says people don’t have to be dressed up like a “gangster” to look cool, and he doesn’t feel like the government has any control over the fashion industry.
“For some of us, this is just a fashion show, it doesn’t affect us,” he explained.
“It doesn’t matter what the rules are, or what the laws are.
This is just another thing we are doing.”