Nollywood in a nutshell: Why is it important?

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TThe Nigerian film industry is booming! It’s characterised by its drama, exaggerated storylines and all-round ‘can’t take my eyes away’ factor. The 90’s saw the industry take off as cheap production and use of VHS meant that stories could be shared country-wide. 

Hollywood films from the nineties and noughties also created a generation of female fashion icons for young African women both in the continent and the diaspora. The women were bold, outspoken, maneaters, cheaters and actively chased what they wanted from life. In a culture that often enforced traditional gender roles and shunned such behaviour, seeing these women on my tv screen was liberating and offered much needed representation. Audiences were in awe of the way the female protagonists would ooze confidence in their mini skirts and knee high boots. Nollywood birthed fashion icons from Genevieve Nnaji to Kate Henshaw and Rita Dominic, the women always served sass and looked damn good doing it!

It is impossible to deny the impact that Nollywood fashion has had on current style trends. The Y2K fashion trend inspired by the style of the 00’s has become incredibly popular in the last few years, think Paris Hilton in her youth, Destiny’s Child and That’s So Raven. Characterised by low waisted jeans, lots of accessories and anything short, it is clear to see that this trend is incredibly popular amongst young women. But who are the true queens of noughties fashion, you might ask? Arguably it’s the female stars of Nollywood films. You see, Nollywood style isn’t just clothes, it’s a state of mind, an attitude that comes from within. It requires you to strut around like you’re the baddest bitch in the world (even if you don’t feel like it) and the kind of magic it evokes can’t be replicated.  

Seeing the resurgence of Nollywood fashion on Tiktok has been a joy to watch. Observing how young African women are embracing and being inspired by some of the most pioneering female characters on tv is amazing. London based events company Recess even hosted a Nollystyle event complete with on theme outfits. This article wouldn’t be complete without a recommendation of two Instagram accounts that have been at the forefront of the cultural resurgence of Nollywood fashion, @nolly.babes and @yung.nollywood. Check them out for endless inspo and many laughs!

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