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Kagbala: Embrace your heritage through clothes

Kagbala: Embrace your heritage through clothes


Clothes say a lot about you and as in any country, it becomes a crucial part of cultural identity. Designer Ebika Kagbala of Authentic Africana and Batiks knows this and the lady of couture has called on Vincentians to embrace their heritage through clothes. Kabala who is from Nigeria, moved to the Caribbean with her husband Dr. Peter Kagbala and their children who have lived in Grenada, Montserrat and now in St.Vincent and the Grenadines. {{more}}

The designer admitted that coming to the Caribbean has inspired her designs to become more cross-cultural, since there are influences of ethnicity from Indians, Africans and Europeans living in the Caribbean. Kagbala said that her fashion has taken her to places like Japan, Malaysia, Paris and England, and also to New York where she recently attended Fashion Week. She stressed that going to these places help her to see what other designers are doing since fashion changes everyday. She revealed that this gives her clothesline a cross cultural look and she aims to please her customers.

“Fashion is wonderful, it can open doors for you. A well dressed woman who passes by gets noticed, guys want to talk to this lady. Women should learn to dress as ladies, you actually attract the right crowd by what you wear, the right guy would approach you.

But if you were shabbily dressed you would get disrespected. Fashion is very important so people must wear the right clothes for the right occasion.”

Giving persons the opportunity to see how their attire could embrace their African heritage for Emancipation month, Kagbala and her family held fashion event at Roy’s Inn on Sunday July 31, where tasty local food was also at hand.

The designer reflected, “There are so many good things about St.Vincent but we must emancipate our minds. We must think black and be proud of who we are and our roots. Vincentians need to contribute their skills more to the country. St.Vincent is such a rich country, everything grows here, we should eat more of the food that comes from the soil because there is so much that we could do with it.”

She questioned, “Why should we be wasting money to buy western food? Our food is more nutritious. A typical good Rastafarian is healthy looking, their skin is clear and their teeth are strong because they eat from the soil.”

Speaking about why Vincentians should be proud of their culture Kagbala emphasised, “We have to stick to what we know so that people would want to visit, but we choose to copy the western style and visitors do not want a watered down copy of what they have. We are a unique people, we used to tie our heads in the market and visitors loved to see that uniqueness, so we must improve on it.”

The very opinionated designer lamented, “We should teach our children our rich heritage. We should teach our men that women are their mothers and sisters and that they should show more respect. Women are queens and princesses and that is what our African culture is all about.”

Kagbala noted that she was the originator of getting bank clerks to wear African outfits in the work place for emancipation, for six years now, and the rest of the region is following suit. “It started in small St.Vincent and Grenadines and now other Caribbean islands are doing it. It wasn’t done this year, for some reason, but we cannot let it die, it has become part of our emancipation celebration.”

The emancipation fashion show was held to raise money for the St. Benedicts Day Nursery at Georgetown and to do some repairs at the Catholic Church.