Thanks to its re-emergence made by Nigerian Gen-Zs, Old Nollywood is not outdated anymore. Its fashion aesthetics have grown in popularity that they are now considered a huge part of Nigerian history and pop culture. Exhibited through fashion, the elements of these aesthetics were prevalent in Nollywood films from the late 90s to the early 2000s. Nollywood's golden era that birthed movies like The President’s Daughter, Abuja Connection, Beyonce and Rihanna and many more captivating titles.
6 reasons for the re-emergence of old Nollywood aesthetics
Beneath the bucket hats, oversized blazers, baggy trousers and mini skirts is just nostalgia and reminiscence of a simpler time in Nigerian history.
At the time of the release of these cinematic productions, these aesthetics and the characters that wore them, made no socio-cultural statement [at least aimed not to]. They were simply what they were. However, today, Gen-Zs are giving individualistic definitions of those iconic, glamourous YK2 looks.
But what truly made YK2 fashion popular again. Here are some factors.
Instagram pages @Nolly.babes and @yung.nollywood were the spearheads for the resurgence of old Nollywood back into mainstream media. Using stills from scenes, and inserting certain catchphrases, for example, "I am a sophisticated babe", "Expressing sorrow but maintaining beauty" set the stage for what old Nollywood aesthetics has become today.
Old Nollywood themed parties
Riding on this sizzling return, old Nollywood themed parties became a thing, especially in the entertainment industry, the epicentre of Nigerian pop culture. Whether it was at movie premieres or Big Brother Naija, old-Nollywood themed parties were all over the place, causing positive ripple effects on its appeal.
Feminism & women's liberation
Most female characters, portrayed by Genevive Nnaji, Oge Okoye, Ini Edo, Rita Dominic and more are now perceived by the Gen-Zs as feminist personas that were way ahead of their time. Considering these characters' daring non-conformity to Nigeria's old-age conservative and sexist culture, it only seemed right to recall the first group of young girls who were unapologetically themselves in any system they found themselves in.
Glory of youth and coming of age
Although the times have changed, the issues challenging Nigerian youths then and now are not so far off. According to Nairametrics, 50.9% of Nigerians are Gen-Zs. Old Nollywood, its characters and aesthetics, thrived on coming of age and the glory of youth. Something Nigerian 2000 babies can beyond zero doubt relate to.
Pioneered by DRB Lasgidi, Cruel Santino, and Odunsi(The Engine) in the 2010s, the genre 'Alte' came with a unique sound but also with elements of a familiar culture and time. Alte clearly tapped inspirations from Old Nollywood fashion. Alte music which will later go on to become a dominant genre of music in Africa played a major role in the reemergence of Old Nollywood aesthetics. Basically, if you identified as an Alte boy or girl, you had to dress like a character in an old Nollywood picture. What were these looks? For the boys; Bucket hats covering dyed hair or dreaded locks, jean jackets, sleeveless shirts, oversized blazers and baggy trousers.
For the girls; Mini leather or short denim skirts, strappy gowns, layered jewelry, nose rings,
However, the most paramount truth beneath these five reasons for the emergence of these aesthetics, is just nostalgia and reminiscence of a simpler time in Nigerian history we were privileged to live through.
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