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.
Engineering 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.
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.
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.
Anyone who has spent time in Freetown will know it is home to hundreds of tailors. But Ibrahim Charlo Bah is not just a tailor, he is a designer, a wardrobe chameleon and a man with great hair.
Let’s talk first about the attire, “I call this Rapel style”. I just googled ‘Rapel style’ and…. well….. nothing. But whatever, if ‘Rapel style’ means wearing an embroidered two piece with poo pants, it rocks! Moving onto Ibrahim’s hair. Those finely moulded finger waves have been achieved by applying a truckload of hair product and avoiding any direct contact with water.
It hasn’t been easy for the tailors of Freetown in the past months, in the words of Ibrahim, “Ebola is breaking businesses and slowing down our country. It is a war for us, we are not hearing gun shots but we are seeing dead bodies”.
If you are in Freetown and feel like some ‘Rapel style’ or just a great new outfit, why not give Ibrahim a buzz. He is waiting for your business +232 76994588. He’ll come to your house, listen to a long-winded vision of your chosen clothes item, measure you up, then return several days later with an original masterpiece. Get on the blower now!