What is up with Lagos Island tailors? – Ella Temisan

What is up with Lagos Island tailors? – Ella Temisan



Today is a good day to discuss another very important issue in our dear, old Lagos.


Who made it into law that once you live on the other side of the bridge, that you must be rich? I want to know the person causing this problem for me because I need to address it. Who said I must have plenty of money if I don’t live on the Lagos mainland? Who?


Why are goods and services more expensive on this side? Even the things that should be very cheap, like repairing your slippers, cost the same as buying a new one.


So, I ask again, who made it so?

You know, December is here. And because I want to have a stress-free celebration; especially considering the Lagos mad rush, I have begun to make plans and organise myself. So, when I got to the Christmas clothes section of my list, I decided to get a tailor.


I have a fantastic one that has been sewing my clothes for years but she’s on the mainland. I thought I should look for somebody close by in case of emergency.


What is up with Lagos Island tailors? - Ella Temisan




And that’s how I landed in this woman’s shop. It was a moderately sized space. She had one big electric machine and a manual one. She also had a large mirror; as well as a massive ironing/cutting table pushed against one wall. She seemed to be like those modern Gen X women. The ones who wear tinted low-cuts and post amusing photos on Facebook.


I went to her shop without any recommendation, but she looked competent, so I relaxed.

ALSO READ: 2021 might not be what you’re expecting – Ella Temisan




I handed over my smallest ankara fabric, showed her the picture of a simple gown that I’d seen on Instagram. She nodded and said no problem. We even discussed my preferences. I wanted the skirts straight, the sleeves belled with an elastic band, no cuffs. I wanted the length of the gown to flow past my heels and I needed a large scarf from the same fabric.


She agreed and said it was small work. She told me my style was simple and I would get it in a week. I was happy.


Then I asked her for my bill. And this woman looked me dead in the eye and said it was N15k. Fifteen full thousand Naira! Haba! How much is the ankara that I want to sew? I’m not saying tailoring is easy or that materials are cheap. But N15k for a straight gown without embellishments or extra fabric is crazy.


I must have dressed too well or sprayed too much perfume and that’s probably why the woman priced me like that. I was shocked. When I spoke with a friend, she told me she had experienced something similar. She said tailors in Lagos, especially those on the island, are charging an arm and a baby’s head to sew clothes these days.


I’ve concluded that it’s one of those island things, just like with house rent and the price of pineapple. Anyway, I’ve packed my Ankara in my box. Let me manage the cloth I have. Next year, I will go to my customer on the Lagos mainland.


Lagos island treatment will not send me back to the village. Amen.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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