Embroidered Tunics For African Men
Many cultures have the tunic as well as different ways of wearing it. In the Nigerian culture, the men’s tunic is called different names depending on the fabric and type of pattern on the fabric. If it’s a plain material like cotton, linen, or other suit fabrics it is referred to as Senator, if the fabric has a lion motif, it is referred to as Isi-Agu, when made with Ankara it is referred to as Native, and if it is a part of a 4-piece traditional ensemble made from Aso-Oke or lace, the tunic becomes an inner wear and is referred to as Buba.
The creative expressions of Nigerian designers means that the lines between these tunic styles are blurring as designers stretch the boundaries of creativity. An example of how designers push boundaries can be seen in an Agbada outfit worn by celebrity presenter and Big Brother Nigeria show host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, which went viral. See it here. Not an Agbada in the technical sense of the word because it lacked an essential element like covering up the neckline, but it was a stylish re-interpretation, revealing the evolving tastes of upwardly mobile Nigerian men.
The Embroidered Tunic
The Agbada is known for elaborate embroidery which has become its trademark. Woven by embroidery artisans, the intricacy of the embroidery on the Agbada was used to indicate the wealth and status of the wearer. On the other hand, the Buba which resembles the modern tunic, was originally made with just a little sliver of embroidery around the neckline and was worn with matching trousers. However, this is changing as modern Buba’s are worn with unmatched trousers and now carry elaborate embroidery formerly reserved for the Agbada.
A Short Story about Embroidery
Embroidery is a way to personalize and give creative expression to garments. It involves using needle and colored threads of silk or wool to create stitches that decorate fabric or other materials and its origin dates back thousands of years to China and Siberia.
In Nigeria, embroidery is dominantly practiced by the Hausa’s in the North and the Yoruba’s of South Western Nigeria. The designs created by local artisans from these two cultures differ greatly in motifs because the former used embroidery as a form of representational arts drawing from motifs from the Islamic religion, meanwhile the latter employed embroidery initially, to preserve the neckline of the Buba and Agbada buy later used it to embellish ceremonial costumes.
Hand & Machine Embroidery
Machine embroidery was introduced in Nigeria in the 1960s. Because of the difficult nature of hand embroidery, machine embroidery is the most popular form of embroidery in Nigeria.
Did you know that today we have digitized embroidery also known as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) that can be downloaded and printed on fabric to save time? Many apparel designers are reducing the time used to design embroidery on fabric by using ready-made downloadable embroidery templates which is then placed on the fabric. This form of embroidery is most-commonly used by new generation African designers to meet the sartorial demands of African millennials.
Tunics for all Occasions
If soot stains your tunic, dye it black, this is vengeance.” This popular saying signifies that white was the standard color of the tunic in times past. Today, the tunic comes in a myriad of colors and styles and is worn by both men and women.
For Africans and Africans in diaspora, the African men’s embroidered tunic has become a uniform in its right for weddings, family reunions, anniversaries, church going, the list is endless. Shop BroStylee on JoeStylee for a beautiful range of embroidered or casual tunic styles.
Trouser Styles to wear with the JoeStylee Embroidered Tunics
If you are tired of playing it safe with black, colored trousers can add the right type of interest to your tunic top. Pair this Lars Amadeus orange pants with the ‘Chairman’ embroidered tunic for maximum style.
Did you learn something new about the African men’s embroidered tunic today? Please share your thoughts with us.