By Morenike Taire
Screen legend and Nigerian beauty icon, Julie Coker, has called for a ban on the importation and wearing of lace and other foreign materials in the country, saying this would aid the development of the fashion industry going forward.
In her 61st Independence Day statement, the octogenarian also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for acknowledging another female living legend, Sade Thomas Fahm, last Tuesday in Abuja for pioneering the use of locally woven and dyed textiles in the early 1960s.
In a congratulatory message issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu on the latter’s 88th birthday, Buhari had referred to Thomas Fahm as “the matriarch of Nigerian fashion”, adding that the choice this year of six of her original designs for exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum London, will enable the future study of her work by historians, academics and fashion designers in perpetuity.
Buhari said the exhibition gives the world the first image of the Nigerian look and promotes a sense of cultural independence for Nigerians, while commending her also for giving the best of her life in service of her community and the nation, noting her keen interest in developing future generations of fashion designers, serving as an academic visitor at the Yaba College of Technology for decades, and endowing an academic prize.
Corroborating the president, Coker recalls that the Italians had dominated the fashion design trade in Nigeria in the 60s. “When Thomas Fahm arrived from England with her Sade Boutique, it was a huge relief because the foreign designers were exorbitant. It was a game-changer,” she added.
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