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Evolution of Uganda's fashion

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd July 2012 04:25 PM

Fashion has always been and will be a reflection of society; it cannot happen in a vacuum. In the 1960s, women wore minis, teetered on platform heels, some boldly went braless (the mind boggles) and the huge afro was in.

Evolution of Uganda's fashion

Fashion has always been and will be a reflection of society; it cannot happen in a vacuum. In the 1960s, women wore minis, teetered on platform heels, some boldly went braless (the mind boggles) and the huge afro was in.


Whereas in the late 80s and early 90s a woman daring enough to go downtown in a micro-mini risked being undressed, in the nineties, no man would dare touch her

By Keturah Kamugasa

Fashion has always been and will be a reflection of society; it cannot happen in a vacuum. In the 1960s, women wore minis, teetered on platform heels, some boldly went braless (the mind boggles) and the huge afro was in.

At the same time, the contraceptive pill was launched and women were no longer afraid of unwanted pregnancies or backstreet abortions; African states were getting independence from white colonialists and in America, the Black civil movement was in high gear.

Fashion, therefore, reflected a sense of freedom, courage and liberation. And yes, it takes a lot of courage to expose acres of leg and thigh! The 70s saw the disco era; neon eye shadow, psychedelic colours and prints, polo necks, and wide bell bottomed trousers — all a sign of liberation.

The 80s were the time for masculine tailoring and huge shoulder pads as women took positions previously jealously guarded by men. No longer was a woman only seen as a tea girl, secretary, receptionist or personal assistant in a large corporation.

Women were now running the corporations. In a bid to be taken seriously in and out of the boardroom, they dressed like men for work. Come the 90s and we see women’s fashion softening a bit as both men and women came to the realisation that women were not mere visitors at the top be it social, corporate, political or economic.

Uganda has experienced all these changes along with the rest of the world, albeit in her own context. Whereas in the late 80s and early 90s a woman daring enough to go downtown in a micro-mini risked being undressed and possibly raped, in the nineties, no man would dare touch her.

If a woman can be bold enough to expose too much flesh, surely she must have a secret weapon? The secret weapon was that now, owing to political representation and the women’s movement, the woman now had a voice and someone to champion and fight for her rights.

The nineties were special as they ushered in glamour, avante garde fashion, femininity and lots of freedom. Consider how revealing clothing is nowadays with grown women thinking nothing of exposing their undergarments.

What about the young women whose dresses look like little girls’ frocks that are too tight, too short, too sheer and with plunging necklines to boot? How terrible to have one garment with all the above style mishaps!

But girls will be girls.
However, women’s apparel has a more feminine touch to it with floral embellishments, and tailoring that seeks to emphasise the feminine form in all its beauty and glory.

All this points to one thing; freedom. Whereas as late as 1990s the thought of a woman speaker of Parliament probably never crossed anyone’s mind, today, we have our very own ably running the business of Parliament.

Women are more visible in all arenas now and they have disposable income that allows them to shop where they want, wear what they want and vote for whom they please.

Moreover, the woman of the nineties was very different from her counterparts in the preceding decades. This woman had and still has unlimited access to information, too much access actually.

She can get access the Internet via her phone, she is on social network sites, she watches movies, can afford magazines and is certainly on the knob so to speak.

Whereas previously world events took a day or even a month to reach her, she can now know what is happening in Paris without even asking.

Evolution of Uganda’s fashion

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