Women and fashion; whichever way you look at it, they certainly share a bond. The latest in African designs made with Ankara fabrics have touched the pride of good old Abada material (also called Hollandaise), which was used as wrapper; the once highly-placed fabric made in Holland.
Back in the days when Nigerian women bought Abada( particularly worn by women from Nigeria’s South-Eastern and South-South Regions) it was more costly than the other materials. The designs have names such as tomatoes, jumping horse, diamond, koso, twinkling star, and an endless list of other names coined by the women themselves.
As a material of honourable status, women who didn’t earn so much, worked hard and made savings to be able to afford one, and they continued in that cycle if they belonged to women’s meetings and clubs where they had to buy any of the Abada designs as aso-ebi.
For those who couldn’t afford it at all, they were always ‘up in arms’ against their poor husbands. It even prevented some of them from attending town meetings, so as to save their faces from shame. Back in the village, it was the greatest honour that could be done an old mother, even if they were only going to use them at festive periods.
The good news today is that every woman who wishes can now afford any of those Abada designs. The cheaper versions of the jumping horses and cassava leaves of the Hollandaise, now sell for as little as between N2000 and N2500! This is as against the Hollandaise which once sold for as expensive as N12, 000 and N14, 000.
Rather than have them strictly for wrappers as was the case before now, fashion trends have given them the best of styles in dresses, skirts and tops, pants, hats and even shoes! With this in vogue, that pride attached to wearing Abada died naturally. You can hardly differentiate them, and importantly, no one is interested in the difference. I learned that some people have decided to ‘keep’ their Hollandaise to follow the flock of the alternative!