Style and Pattern

Inside Nigeria’s Booming Hair Industry

The hair industry in Nigeria is a booming business and has seen remarkable growth in recent years, buoyed by the emerging young population which places premium on looking good, irrespective of cost.

Despite a dwindling national economy, the trade in hair has become a multi-billion dollar industry in Nigeria. Depending on the hairstyle, some women will not mind spending up to 20% of their earnings on getting their hair done each month as some hairpieces can sell for up to as much as $650.

In ancient times, one could tell the spirituality, tribe, wealth status, social class, age and more from a person’s hairstyle. Today however, hairstyles have become a defining factor in whatever fashion statement a woman is making and every Nigeria woman wants to make her own the loudest because for many it is much more than a self-perception, it is a medium of self-expression and helps to build confidence among their folks.

Due to huge demand for hair in Nigeria, hair is now imported from countries including India,China,United Kingdom. The influx of the human/ synthetic hair in west Africa has greatly impacted the direction of women’s hair fashion. Personal feelings such as insecurity, self esteem, comfort etc. are also some of the reasons for certain hairstyle choices and many have abandoned the African braid for the straight hair.

The outbreak of COVID and strict regulations in public places has not helped natural braids either as most women have embraced the hair wigs for ease and resale value depending on the quality.

Style and Pattern is unique to every individual and this project is an exploration of the art, personalities and motives behind the choices of many hairstyles and the importance they hold to Nigerian women and culture at large in West Africa.

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