Y is for Yaba Market
Fresh faced jebby me(well I like to think I was one) got bitten with the yaba market bug many many and i emphasize MANY moons ago. A certain friend of the unilag breed who was a specialist unleashed the bug on me. I got the yaba fever and went on a ravaging spree. I was excited about Alhaja for her relatively cheap makeup,you could get everything and i mean EVERYTHING from her, Austin for the unique dresses, i tell you if i can find him now, I'm going back to yaba. and the shoes? Mega mad, who wouldn't get crazy seeing all these things for cheap?( wonder where they got their supplies from) …
You can wrinkle your nose and call them second hand clothes, but I wouldn’t give you that pleasure. You know how we do, we do it posh… if it were to be portebello or Camden we’ll call them vintage or thrift shopping or something fancy, and ohhh and ahhh over our flea market purchases... So there you go. I shopped for belts, dresses and I in turn infected my friend from Abuja with the bug and chei, she overtook me in that quest, the fever killed her.
Those were fun days, in those cluttered lanes, I bumped into many a 'big girls' I knew, we just smiled and greeted ourselves like we were in LOP or Collectibles (those were the top shops of Lagos back then) or somewhere that wasn't yaba. The "you’ve caught me here yeah? Whats the big deal?' attitude. No shame anymore. Twas fun and addictive I tell you. I had unique dresses and beautiful shoes to show off those days. I still have this gorgeous blue 'vintage' top i haven't used in my wardrobe.
Only downside was i got cheated a lot. Like i would wear the biggest tshirt and jeans and a pair of slippers to razz myself up, but tsk tsk tsk, they always managed to get the best out me if i ventured out on my own. My dear dear friend would hold my hand and keep me on her leash like it was back in 1994 when mother would hold me tight in the market place. I don't blame her though... there's something about me that makes you want to protect me :)...poor dear, if only she knows how gangsta i can get.
I miss the yaba market days.(is there a difference between yaba and tejusho?) I would spend everything in my wallet with barely enough money to pay for my cab home. It was always worth it though. In those days i got to discover the wonderful tailors that made beautiful curtains and duvets. Those tailors were gangsta, and so affordable, only difference between them and the professional interior decorators is the brand name. I hear the place has been demolished the market. Sad.
I'm proud to say i've matured in Lagos market affairs. I go to Balogun on my own when i can(no, not for 'thrift shopping'), Kubis for her laces, ankara fabrics from further down, hair products and toiletries from breadfruit lane(most of the big shops get their stock from here too), and provisions sold at wholesale prices(a hamper makers haven). It's no longer as scary as i was made to believe growing up. Although i remember going there once with my sister and my friend, and there was this procession of scary looking half naked men with leaves in their mouth, carrying a coffin through the market nollywood style. That freaked me out bad.
Don't get me wrong, I see nothing wrong in thrift shopping especially not in Nigeria.I would go to Yaba today if it still exists. You see something unique you like? buy it. Don't just pretend about stuff and sneak around in your shopping, you'll make it seem wrong and you'll always be watching your back, hoping nobody finds you out and then get embarrassed when they eventually do. Who cares where you shopped at as long as you step out looking fab?
Today I see a couple of Yaba alumni doing big things in big labels splashed on the pages of fashion magazines and I smile, I’m proud of them all, and their secret is safe with me. Even if sometimes they get too snobbish for me, it's ok, like they say "we've always got Paris", I'll just smile at them from across the room and my eyes will say it all 'we've always got Yaba darling'
PS: I remember when there was this whole issue with a certain socialite and her protégée in the papers, they fell out and so did their secrets, fake chopard jewelry, and secret tejusho market shopping sprees were revealed :) Uhhhhh, the horror of it. lol