In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant

My Mother’s Bazins
When my mom arrived in New York in 1997, she was exhilarated by the possibilities the city had to offer her. One of the many things she brought with her to America was bazins, in fact, she was wearing a bazin on her way here from Guinea. Bazins are cultural dresses popular across Africa, particularly in my mother’s homeland, Guinea. They are usually made of one fabric that has many patterns and colors. She wore them quite often when she first came, but then she had to start working and bazins aren’t practical workwear. She replaced the colorful dresses with Old Navy jeans and tee shirts. The only times she wears bazins are on special occasions like weddings, baby showers, and graduations. On these days she wears bold makeup instead of the natural looks she opts for and high heels to replace the comfortable sneakers she wears to work. It is refreshing to see my mother dressed so beautifully and pampered because she is constantly either doing house chores or at work. For my mother, bazins have become a rare treat for she is constantly working . When my mother wears a bazin she is saying “I haven’t forgotten where I have come from” and “I have pride in Guinea.” Bazins have kept Guinean culture alive within my house. Bazins have not only reminded me of how hard my mother has worked to be prosperous in this country, but of how my mother is preserving Guinean culture and assimilating to American culture. 

Place(s): New York, Guinea
Year: 1997

– Marlyatou B.

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant