The Agbada – that fashion gift that underscore the genius of African designers through the decades – never ceases to fascinate many. Some people are reported to have imagined it as a parachute while others have given it their own labels. But I can never forget my favorite Agbada story.
One day, a beloved uncle of mine lost the patron of his all-men- club, who served as a mentor to all the men in the club. As part of the funeral requirements, all the men were required to sew an Agbada to wear in honour of their patron. Everyone complied. For many of the young men, it was their first Agbada. As expected, many had not learnt how to ‘wear’ the flowing dress so from time to time, some ‘little accidents’ happened here and there. When my uncle’s baptism moment came, it was not a little accident at all, he tripped as part of the Agbada was caught in his shoes and he came crashing down!
Other members of the club were unanimous that he should take off his Agbada because he was doing a good job as compere of the event, and he had been walking up and down the whole time, that they felt it was in their best interests of everyone as nobody wanted another fall inside the hall.
The following day, he cleverly removed the embroidery on the Agbada and neatly ‘restored’ the Agbada to its earlier state as a long piece of cloth, which he neatly folded beside his pillow hoping to convert it to a ‘cover cloth.’ But his wife beat him to it. She saw the lovely cloth beside the pillow when she woke up the day after and suddenly knew what styles would fit the cloth. She dropped it with her stylist as she made her way to work that morning.