Traditional Igbo Dress

In Attire
An Nigerian, Igbo dress; traditionally worn for weddings and funerals.
An Nigerian, Igbo dress; traditionally worn for weddings and funerals.

This dress was given to me by my Nigerian family and is a large representation of my cultural background. This specific dress represents more than a piece of clothing, it was made for my great aunt’s funeral, so it means more to me than the average dress would and it is a more traditional style of Nigerian clothing than the average person would wear daily. At the funeral, everyone from her family wore clothes with this print, both the men and the women. This made me feel more connected to the rest of my family than I ever had before. Despite the fact that New York City is very far away from where my family lives, this dress makes me feel like I am back in Nigeria meeting my family for the first time. The trip that I took to Nigeria made me realize the hard decisions that my grandpa must have faced when he came to America for college and the challenges that he must face balancing both of his families, in the U.S and in Nigeria. Lastly, this dress makes me feel a connection to my great aunt who passed away, even though we never had a chance to meet, my trip and this dress connect me to her in a different way. Even though U.S fashion differs from Nigerian fashion, the clothes we share from the funeral tie us together across two continents.

Place(s): Aguluzigbo, Nigeria and New York City
Year: 1959

– Olivia Umeh

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant