The Creativity In Alte Fashion

Nmesoma Okwudili


March 6, 2024

In Nigeria, there has been a recent surge in popularity within the fashion sector.If you’re familiar with the term ‘Alte’ or comprehend its significance, you likely belong to Generation Z or keep abreast of the latest trends. Those associated with this movement are often called altéists, pronounced as all-tea-ists.

Alte fashion offers people a distinctive and expressive way to represent who they are. But in other parts of Nigerian society, this nontraditional attitude to fashion is viewed with scepticism and called “madness.” Street style and boldness significantly influenced the movement, which gained popularity partly because of musicians like Odunsi.

Alte, which stands for alternative fashion, is sometimes misinterpreted as a way of life or a habit. This movement in Nigeria identifies a group of young people with a distinct taste in music and fashion. Alte fashion favours a vintage and retro aesthetic. Young creatives typically wear this look, which combines a lot of fabric layering, large rings and necklaces, loose-fitting jeans, worn trainers, and piercings.

Starting out as a fringe movement, alté fashion, or several iterations of it, are now how a large number of young Nigerians decide to express their style. It is editorial make-up and colorful hair. It is theatrical hairstyles and tops that barely conceal. It is heeled boots (really high), expressive hats and belts, and even fur. It is nail polish on the fingers of boys and those who identify as male –  the list goes on. 

It’s no secret that the alté movement is booming in places like Lagos. Although a lot of people in the music and fashion industries love this trend, some people find it offensive, especially since it appears to be favored by a specific social group. Conversely, alté music, characterized by lyrical, whimsical, and occasionally spiritual tones, has not yet gained mainstream recognition.

Indeed, the alté movement in Nigeria embodies various characteristics of alternative fashion in its attire choices. The alté community adopts a gothic look inspired by Y2K fashion. Examples of such looks are knit ski masks worn with loose-fitting Ankara shirts. It fuses grunge elements with a distinctive Nigerian aesthetic. Some Nigerians, meanwhile, find it difficult to categorise or differentiate it.

The main concept behind alté fashion is nonconformity. The days of criticising your favourite hoodie for having holes in it are long gone. It is imperative to bear in mind that these fashion trends do not conform to any conscious or unconscious fashion guidelines.

Alté fashion revolves around the strength of self, creativity, and enjoyment. People sometimes refer to this fashion movement as being insane because it always has a hint of “extraness,” with details and colour being so essential that it would be incomplete without them.

The key to success in the fashion industry is to show off your unique sense of style without giving in to peer pressure. Considering that the Nigerian establishment often employs subtle dress restrictions to enforce conservative beliefs on the youth, this idea becomes extremely intriguing. Deviations from these rules could lead to challenges such as limited social access and potential criminal profiling. Alté fashion embraces an independent approach to style, steering clear of societal norms.

So this fashion allows you to express yourself in a different way. Anything goes when it comes to Alté, as long as you know how to carry and wear it appropriately. That’s the sole rule.

Alternative fashion is a means of self-expression that pushes limits and questions social standards. Promoting knowledge and understanding can open the door to a more inclusive appreciation of the variety of fashion manifestations within Nigeria’s cultural fabric, even though some Nigerians might initially view it as unconventional.


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