Photo Credit: @kingobas/ @okhai_
West African Ankara Bridal Gown Goes Viral In Nigeria
Chioma Inyang is a Nigerian woman and fashion designer who went viral on the internet for wearing a West African Ankara bridal gown on her wedding day in February.
She wanted to represent her African roots on her important day. Instead of wearing a traditional white bridal gown, Inyang decided to design and style an African wedding ceremony dress designed with African prints and clothing known as Ankara.
Ankara, also known as Ankara prints or wax prints, is a 100% cotton fabric with vibrant patterns. It is usually a colorful cloth and is primarily associated with Africa because of its tribal-like patterns and motifs.
Social media followers in Nigeria learned about the creativity of the wedding dress, as many people said the style was such a bold move. Inyang’s friends took to social media to share photos from the wedding ceremony as they expressed how great Chioma’s dress looked.
“I saw some people on social media saying that I wore Ankara to my wedding because I don’t have money. That’s not true. I have money. The problem we have now is that we haven’t acknowledged our African roots. I told myself that on my wedding day, I would wear a traditional African dress. That morning, when I saw myself in the mirror, I said: ‘What?! This lady is beautiful!’,” Inyang told BBC News Africa.
She said that her husband was fine with it.
“Even if he wasn’t, I would have convinced him otherwise.”
In the interview, she said that her mother didn’t like the idea of wearing an African wedding dress.
“I told my mom about my idea, and she was like, Ankara? Why would you wear Ankara? No, you will not wear Ankara. The Catholic Church would not accept it. On that day, she saw me and said; Wow, you look so beautiful.”
The Nigerian fashion designer said she sketched the design and gave it to the tailor. It cost around $367 to make the dress.
Now, she hopes that African women will be inspired by what she did and do the same.
“Let the world see us and realize we are proud to be Africans. Our identity should be in everything we do. Let the world know that we exist, and we are doing well.”
Chioma Inyang has a YouTube channel, where she teaches how to sew West African Ankara bridal gowns and other things related to fashion design.