Rivers State, Fashion and Identity

Florence Uwaeme

Fashion is one of the ways of identification amongst people of different cultural backgrounds. The way an Ikwerre man/woman dresses differs from how an Ijaw or Kalabari man/woman dresses for different ceremonies.
The people of Rivers State are known for the potpourri of ways they are regaled, especially during any of their cultural festivals or traditional marriages.

Though we can rarely see the display of these beautiful aspects of the Rivers people only during special occasions, all hope isn’t utterly lost in the preservation of these cultural heritages as some parents ensure to imbue this cultural consciousness into their younger generation.
There is no way you will go to any ceremony in Rivers State and not be bemused by the myriad of colourful attires.

The Ijaw people, for instance, have different attires for different ceremonies. From burial ceremonies to their traditional weddings, one can’t help but be entertained by a beautiful display of their cultural heritage.
Below are some of these attires.

Kalabari Traditional Attire

The girl in this picture is wearing ‘Kaliali Suon’ on her head with Indian wrapper on the waist and coral bead on her neck. This type of hat is worn (worn by the girl) during mourning periods by the family of the deceased.

This male attire is called ‘Woko’. This is the most popular style amongst Rivers men of the Kalabari extraction. this is mostly worn with a walking stick or ‘Imkpara’

The young boy is wearing what is known as ‘Etibo’. this attire is a combination of coral beads on the neck, wrapper loosely wrapped on the head and the waist. the older man is draped in ‘Iraibo’ with a hat ceremonial hat known as ‘Ojubulu’ and wrapper draped around his body. This attire can be worn during any type of ceremony.

The couple here is draped in a Kalabari ceremonial attire. The lady is wearing a hat made of bead, with coral bead adorned on her neck and wrists. she is also wearing a beaded footwear and walking stick.

The man is wearing a ‘Woko’ shirt with wrapper on his waist.

Other Rivers People’s Attire include