Aso Ebi is one of the most characteristic features of Nigerian fashion. Even with the widespread civilization and the attendant invasion of western elements into the Nigerian culture, several norms and practices remain unchanged – as though sacred. One of such is the use of Aso Ebi.
Aso Ebi is a Yoruba phrase that could have a variety of translations to suit individual contexts. However, one generally acceptable understanding of the phrase is that it is some form of ‘special costume’ that is worn by special people on special occasions. Initially, only the Yorubas of southern and south-western Nigeria that employed the use of Aso Ebis. However, even now, Igbos, Edos, and several other tribes in Nigeria have adopted its use.
Aso Ebi mark out different cadres of people for different reasons. When a family or group has a celebration event, for instance, all the members of the family or group typically put on attires of the same fabric, to identify themselves as the chief celebrants in the midst of the occasion. Similarly, events could have certain Aso Ebi fabrics as the colour code for the day of the event.
Aso Ebis are largely only in regard to the nature of the fabric, and not the style of the eventual dress. Therefore, several persons could have the same Aso Ebi but end up making different styles and designs, depending on their individual preferences. These days, there are tons of new Aso Ebi styles being released daily by top fashion designers, many of which have been featured on local and international fashion shows.
The top aso ebi styles trending today have so much in common. Few of their common features include:
Peplum design: Whether it’s the arm, or the blouse edges, the peplum design has warmed itself into the hearts of Aso Ebi lovers, especially those that prefer to do gowns and blouses, rather than plain tops and wrappers. Peplum designs are specifically peculiar to females, nonetheless.
Senator style: This is the trendiest aso ebi/native style for men today. As many as seven in ten men today have at least one senator style outfit among their collection, while many others have more. The best senator styles have the following features: cuffs style (for cufflinks) at the wrist part of the shirts, as opposed to general open or free-flowing style; and embroidery or patterned designs at the chest region. Beautifully contrasting embroidery designs add elegance to the overall outlook, further complemented with specially-made fila.
Off-shoulder gowns: This ranks amongst the trendiest aso ebi styles for females. There is hardly any female fashion enthusiast who does not have at least one off-shoulder gown in her closet. Women particularly prefer this style because it offers them a unique opportunity to showcase their physical assets, while still looking glamorous and attractive. All women (both old and young) find this style alluring, only that the elderly may be more conservative about the openings on the cloth while the younger ones may tend to be more daring and less cautious. Some aso ebi inspired styles are captured below.