Africans should learn to be Africans; i have major issues with our Western induced sense of fashion regardless of the fact that Historians tell us that we Africans, at a particular point wore nothing but a thin piece of hide around the waist, let’s call it a H- string
…..while the women wore nothing, or so the pictures depict!
Am however not suggesting we go back to wearing hide, no….we are living in dangerous, immoral times!
My problem with modern fashion does not only stop at how we dress, address or undress; the issue is elephant. It goes just beyond humans.
I do not like how mannequins are dressed. Yes, you heard that right, mannequins. In every town in our beautiful Kenya, there are numerous boutiques exhibiting clothed mannequins as a way of marketing the apparels on sale.
(Oh today morning i passed by a famous shopping place in Mombasa town right opposite Bank of Baroda, all the mannequins were undressed. Not that it means anything but just so you know i had nothing to post today so it kind of inspired this piece!)
Now, here is where my issue lies; African and Caucasian skin are very different (and am not being racist here); clothes which may look good in one may perhaps look like a Halloween outfit on another. Here is the thing, and i am raising this issue being a proud owner of a very black skin- black and not what my fellow Africans allude to as chocolate. There is black and there is chocolate. I am black, proudly.
There are some particular colours which, say might look absolutely fabulous if worn by that guy from Game of Thrones, the one who married the white haired mother of the dragons. You remember him? The one to whom the idea of foreplay was as extinct as a Dinosaur. Yes, that super hot guy! If he wears a Purple shirt, he would look fab, right?
James Bond might also look great in Purple for a change!
Bring the same shirt to me and i splash it against my black skin. Results will definitely be, well, not as fab as the afore-mentioned hot guy before 007. The only African who looks okay in a purple shirt is Francis Atwoli coz we are already used to him wearing it.
Or certain pastors from the many evangelical plant-a-seed churches sprouting like mushrooms everywhere in my beautiful Kenya.
So am window shopping at Budget supermarket in Mombasa, they have a muscular mannequin dressed in a purple shirt and stripped pants at their apparel section. I stare at it and an attendant walks to me and asks whether i needed help. No, i said, but i have a question:
“Why don’t you guys have mannequins that match our skin color (showing off mine), i would look totally ridiculous wearing this (holding the purple shirt)!”
The guy looks at me and back at the mannequin and chuckles.
“TBH, i have never thought of it that way!” he says.
“But i would look ridiculous in that outfit, right?” i insist.
He laughs some more, “yes you would!”
The thing is, a consumer will purchase a product based on the perception they get from the method of marketing or displaying the product. I was actually tempted to buy a shirt and pant that were on display because, well, it looked good on the mannequin and i figured i might look equally elegant.
But i have no biceps like the mannequin.
And a protruding thorax.
And square jaws.
And muscular thighs.
And light skin.
I will end up looking ridiculous even if in my mind i think i look like something from the runways of Paris!
Baethewei, is this perception the reason why our African ladies are lightening and whitening their skins? Why don’t we have women desiring to darken their skins?
And will we soon be hearing of European women darkening their skins…..to look like Lupita Nyon’go? Ha, that will be the ultimate killer for the decade!