On this day nine years ago, I attended one of my secondary school’s cultural day.
My mom dressed me up in the typical Ibibio woman’s wrapper and blouse and I set out in one of her shoes.
Unrelated but my legs are big. My dad used to call me caterpillar legs because even at a young age, I started sharing shoes with my mom.
As I was saying…
When I arrived at school that day, right from the gates, my female classmates started laughing at me.
I didn’t know at first. I’d see some of them point at my legs and break into a mirth.
Then I started wondering if they could tell the shoes were for my mom.
But when I looked at my shoes closely, I saw they fit perfectly.
So why were my mates laughing at me?
No reason other than…
They weren’t just any typa shoe.
They were akpola shoes!
“Willie Bassey, I like this your akpola shoe o.” One of my teachers said as she walked past me.
I told her thank you and walked shyly to sit under one of the canopies.
You can guess the number of stares that followed me to my seat.
One girl, Bilikisu, (I can’t even forget her name) walked up to me and asked me why I’m old-fashioned.
In her words: “How can you wear akpola of all shoes in 2013?”
I didn’t say anything to her.
I just kept quiet, fighting the tears already welling up in my eyes.
In fact, after that day, people began to refer to me as Victoria Akpola.
Some said it rhymed with “Akpan” which is a popular Akwaibom name.
Some said I should drop Willie and Bassey and adopt Akpola as my surname at once.
Others called me Victoria Akpola Willie.
It was bad.
At a point, I grew a thick skin and laughed whenever I heard the name.
Thinking back, if my puerile mind were mature then, I’d have defended what I wore with all my heart.
Because the Akpola shoe trend returned to the fashion scene better than its original appearance.
This goes without saying that you should never underestimate any fashion trend.
They always come back again even better than their first appearance.
Take corset, for instance.
This trend has been existing since the 16th century or even earlier.
But 21st-century ladies are giving it a more stylish vibe corsetifying anything clothing, including suits!
What about the afro hairstyle popular in the 70s?
Isn’t it what every naturalista wears now?
Or maybe baggy pants that reigned in the late 90s.
They’re back again as palazzos, boyfriend jeans, cargo pants, etc.
You don’t have to follow every fashion trend bumper to bumper.
What you should do is take note of them.
Their first appearance is never their last appearance.
So, tomorrow if you wake up to see people wearing “My money grows like grass” or “Ama Kip Kip” tees…
Don’t be surprised.
That’s how fashion works.
Every trend is a recycled version of the past.
See ya later.
The Writer who knows how to do Fashion,
Creative Director, Ria Kosher