"Style, class, fashion, uniqueness … don't get me wrong, a lot of people have different fashion, but Nigerian fashion pops."
For Ruqaiya Musa Muhammad, a Nigerian living in St. John's, there's nothing that compares to the fabulous clothing her native country is famous for.
"If you see a Nigerian person dressed anywhere in the world, you will always turn your head and say, come! Where did you get that from? That's Nigerian for you."
In St. John's, you can see many Nigerian people dressed in their best this week. The Nigerian-Canadian Association of Newfoundland & Labrador is holding Nigeria Week, with a host of events celebrating Nigerian culture.
There are information sessions, a bowling night, a rice cook-off and a reception at Government House to mark the 60th anniversary of Nigerian independence. Some events are happening in-person, others are happening online due to COVID-19 restrictions, but all are welcome to attend.
"We have a very strong community here," said Somkene Mbakwe, president of the association. "Nigerians in Newfoundland and Labrador are over a thousand in number, spreading from Corner Brook to Labrador."
Mbakwe says that wherever Nigerians go, they love to show off their signature style.
"We don't step down on our standards, we always up our game." he said. "And we like to be confident. I mean, if you look good, you've got to be confident!"
WATCH: In honour of Nigeria Week, we asked some of St. John's most fashionable Nigerians to show off their best looks:
'The beauty of the Nigerian person
Of course, wearing traditional Nigerian fashion in a chilly part of the world has its challenges.
"Wearing Nigerian fashion in Newfoundland and Labrador sometimes is not that easy, because fabrics are lighter," said Esther Olorunsere-Oduekun, a Nigerian who has lived in St. John's for five years. "But if I was wearing a regalia like this, it's thicker, so it's easily wearable because the cold wouldn't get to me."
Olorunsere-Oduekun says a classic Nigerian look incorporates many elements, all of which have cultural significance.
"When I think about Nigerian fashion, the most important things that come to my mind are the colours, the regalia, the headgear. And sometimes even the accessories you have. You have corals, we use real corals to depict royalty and abundance."
For Ifeoma Ineh, a Nigerian who has lived in St. John's for three years, the most important part of Nigerian fashion is the bold, bright colours.
"Nigerians are very confident people, and we represent part of it by showing the multi-colourful outfits." she said. "And it brings out the beautiful you, and it confidence you to the society. So instead of wearing just a plain colours, we grace the occasion with multiple colours."
Ineh says that Nigerian fashion is about more than just looks.
"When I think about Nigerian fashion, I think about elegance, the confidence, the beauty of the Nigerian person comes out in our clothing." she said. "We make sure we make a statement wherever we step out."
Somkene Mbakwe hopes that people of all cultures will step out for Nigeria Week events. But he says the fashion that made his country famous is always on display.
"If you want to see Nigerians dressed in this very elegant, attractive fashion, go to churches, go to the mosque, go to events, go to Nigerian weddings! That's where you see it, and you're going to see a lot of us, even on ordinary days, just want to look good."
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