Trending now: The Addis Ababa shirt

Ebola is on the run (two cases in the past week!), the kids are back at college and campus fashion has never looked so cool. At Fourah Bay College, and all over Freetown in fact, it’s all about the Addis Ababa shirt. Not since the ubiquitous ‘hot guys with head phone‘ look or those street style stalwarts the ‘disco tights‘ has a trend so ferociously permeated the country. In a f*ck you to Ebola, Sierra Leone is reclaiming its fashion mojo.

IMG_5556Engineering student and college beauty N’delei leads the Addis Ababa Shirt (AAS) craze in this tasselled version. Casual, fresh and ideal for sitting in those lecture halls, N’delai says the AAS is her go-to wardrobe item this semester.

IMG_5559 A cinched waist gives this AAS ensemble a whole new silhouette. Political science student and aspiring model Danita is a devoted fan of the new trend. “I like it because it’s unisex, look around and you can see both boys and girls wearing the Addis Ababa”, she says.

IMG_5577 Look around indeed and HELLO ARNOLD. Fresh off a plane from Accra, Arnold bought his shirt in Ghana’s capital while on a study tour where he couldn’t resist some international shopping on the side.

Almost normcore

When I caught whiff of the new ‘Normcore’ trend recently, my first thought was “That will never hit Freetown”. How wrong I was. This new dress code which celebrates an absence of style – think Jerry Seinfeld, UNIQLO puffer jackets, and polar fleeces – is the opposite of what you see in these parts. So can you imagine my confusion when I spotted Fashpack regular and Freetown’s answer to a Congolese Sapeur the Reverend Immanuel Benson Palmer in this low key ensemble.


‘Mom’ jeans, converse and double denim, is that really the Rev? a man known so famously for his devotion to Ghanaian mumus and three piece suits?


Indeed it is. Never one to shy away from the latest trend, the Rev. has given Normcore a go,  with mixed results in my opinion. Normcore is clearly at odds with the Rev’s unyielding desire to dress up. He couldn’t help but throw on a chunky silver cross chain more suited to Fifty Cent than an American tourist. The commitment is just not there. I suspect that like all irritating trends that take the world by storm, Normcore will disappear just as quickly as it arrived. For the stylish people of Freetown, let’s cross our fingers that this is the case.