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Published On: Mon, Dec 8th, 2014

Conflict between fashion and culture in universities

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Abuja prostitutesBy Mercy Sokomba Agbange

Fashion is the key word in our world today, but specifically on our university campuses. This is the age of fashion where we speak, behave, dress, decorate our houses and live our lives in a fashionable way. Fashion as described in the English dictionary is ‘a current (constantly changing) trend, favoured for frivolous rather than practical, logical or intellectual reasons.’ It is also a popular style or practice especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body piercing etc. Fashion is a distinctive and often habitual trend in the style in which a person dresses. Fashion in our various Nigerian campuses is gradually taking the place of our culture and this is a rather inappropriate attitude most students have cultivated. Students have accepted fashion with open arms and have turned their backs on culture because they believe that fashion makes them popular among their folks and upgrades their level of confidence. It is however not a bad idea to be fashionable but the question is ‘should fashion be allowed to take the place of our culture?’

 Culture is the beliefs, customs, arts, etc. of a particular society, group or place. It is a way of thinking, living, behaving or working that exists in a place. In Nigeria, people still cherish their traditional languages, music, dance and literature but they are beginning to become double minded because of the strong force with which fashion is pushing. It has being observed that it is mostly students in our higher institutions that embrace fashion more and they have gone extra miles to see that they are well fashioned to belong to the high class of students without critically considering that the high class clothes they put on do not portray their culture in any way. They wear all sorts of clothes just to ‘feel among’ or belong to a particular click as well as follow the trend. This is why they have so much embraced the western culture of fashion and have forgotten our culture. The wearing of clothes is a feature of nearly all human societies meant to cover our nakedness and protect us from harsh weather conditions, ironically, clothes are no longer worn for that purpose anymore.

Fashion today is contradicting the very purpose for wearing clothes and our culture. Fashion has now began to promote indecency in our way of life such as piercing of the body, tattoos, wearing skimpy clothes, extra tight clothes, clothes that expose sensitive parts of the body, etc. No culture or religion is ever in support of indecency but what we see today in our school campuses is a total disregard for our strong cultural beliefs and way of life. Nowadays, various styles of dressings have emerged- low waist, hot blossom, sagging etc. All these dressings have the society’s moral and most especially cultural value to its lowest ebb. This indecency that fashion is promoting has made our society open to various sorts of immoral acts like rape, molestation, smoking, drinking, etc.

There has to be a check on our fashion sense in order to avoid putting ourselves at risks that immoral behaviour can bring about. There used to be a time when the concept of fashion was only in occasions, though it will be relatively pointless to compare this present generation with the older generation because there is a vast difference. Earlier, fashion used to be found only among the affluent class of people but now times have changed. Class no longer matters in fashion. In fact, everybody is fashionable these days, we can hardly see anyone who isn’t fashionable in their own way in our various universities today and this is a great threat to our culture. In a nation such as ours that is endowed and blessed with various culture and traditions, it is a pity to see this culture and traditions gradually going into extinction. Most students in our universities today find it difficult to dress in their local attire as they regard it as ‘old and archaic.’ Our culture cries out in despair for this. Our culture is what makes us unique, stand out and responsible. We cannot continue to throw away the very thing we have being rooted in. We will be totally displaced if we allow our culture to be taken away from us. The time has come to ring the alarm for this hideous trend of indecency caused by fashion to be given serious attention.

Mercy Sokomba Agbange,final year student, Mass Communication Department of Bayero University, Kano.

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