In 2019, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Middle Passage, when the first enslaved Africans came to the United States of America in 1619 at the time of the slave trade, I wondered how much African fashion was integrated into this mix. Recent attention at the global level and what a stamp our past has on our current fashion culture. What makes contemporary African fashion only African? What is their characteristic after moments of mixing with Western charms (forced and chosen, welcome, and undesirable)?
European fashion is celebrated with glamor. The American sports fashion (in the real sense of the fashion industry) is legendary: what is the calling card of the contemporary African clothing landscape? These are the questions I tried to answer on my own during a recent visit to my country Ghana (knowing that I could not answer them).
WHAT DOES AFRICAN FASHION SAY ABOUT ITSELF?
Any attempt to decode the double helix and decode the DNA of “African” fashion may be a futile experience whose goals are as close as a visit to one of the 54 countries of the continent. Africa is neither a monolith nor its fashion. Everything that is the fruit of the generosity of Africa is as much a function of different national identities as continental cohesion. Nevertheless, I remember the pride of nations that transcend the borders of our borders, that our national boundaries were not our choices, and that there was an indescribable and inseparable unity of being, despite the imaginary lines and actual differences of our cultures, values, and values identities. So it is not surprising to think that there could be a discussion linking the fashion of the continent, right?
Ready-to-wear is a relatively new concept that is aimed explicitly at Ghana and probably the rest of the continent. When I was a child, I used to buy cheap clothes when traveling abroad and making seamstresses in Ghana for a sewist. Almost everyone in Ghana has a seamstress, which applies to a range of socio-economic backgrounds. However, ready-made brands have now appeared all over the continent, some illustrating this story.
This has led to the emergence of Western-inspired fashion weeks, e-commerce platforms, and concept stores such as the United Empire and Viva Boutique and even influence marketing: in short, the creation of an industry of fashion is in many ways similar to that of the West. , despite the structural problems, what can we expect from such a unit?
A GLIMPSE OF AFRICAN CLOTHING
African clothing generally refers to the traditional dress of African peoples.
Different tribes of the continent are proud of their national dress, which they wear for ceremonies and special occasions.
There are many types of clothing, and the type of fabric plays a crucial role in the garment industry. The structure generally reflects the society in general and the status of individuals or groups within that community.
In some cases, traditional clothing has been replaced or influenced by foreign cultures such as colonial imprinting or the accessible western dress code.
THE EVOLUTION OF AFRICAN FASHION
The development of clothing in Africa is complicated to understand because of the lack of written words and real historical evidence. These come primarily from a variety of sources, such as traditional clothing for members of today’s tribes, oral propaganda, drama, and art and artifacts. Sculptural representations of the garment.
African clothing and fashion is a varied theme that can provide insight into different African cultures. The clothes range from colorful fabrics to more than abstract embroidered dresses with bracelets and colorful beaded necklaces. Africa is such a vast and diverse continent; traditional clothing is different in each country. In many West African countries, for example, there are “different styles of regional clothing that result from many years of textile art in weaving, dyeing, and printing.” However, these traditions may still coexist with western styles.
A striking contrast in African fashion is between rural and urban societies. Urban societies are generally more exposed to trade and the changing world, while newer Western trends require more time to enter rural areas. The peoples of Africa wear traditional cultural clothing.
The European influence is also found in African fashion. For example, Ugandan men began to wear “long pants and long-sleeved shirts.” Besides, women began to adapt their influences to the “Victorian costume of the 19th century.” These include: “Long sleeves and swollen shoulders, a wide skirt and usually a colorful tie at the waist.”
Another popular trend is to combine a modern western outfit like a T-shirt with a traditional wrap. Rural communities have also begun to integrate second-hand/western clothing into their everyday style. For example, rural women in Zambia started to “associating second-hand clothing with a single two-meter-long chitenge length used to wrap the dress.”
With the globalization of the influence of Western clothing from urban to rural areas, it is increasingly common nowadays to find people dressed in different styles.
FACTS ABOUT AFRICAN FASHION
The African continent is a wonderfully diverse place with an incredible diversity of people, animals, and locations. The traditional African costume is as different as the African continent. From rugged Djellaba outerwear worn by men and women in North Africa to Madiba’s colorful shirts in South Africa, there is an incredible range of clothing. Archaeologists estimate that Africans began to wear clothing shortly after the first Homo sapiens was created around 180,000 years ago. This was probably due to the beginning of the ice age and the need to warm up by necessity. These clothes were usually made of leather or fur. For thousands of years, African clothing has become where they are today.
Most clothes are beautiful, rich in color and pattern, and are made from natural resources available to humans. More information on African clothing can be found in the datasheet below. written for children and adults
MATERIALS USED TO MAKE AFRICAN CLOTHS
Traditional African dress is made from a wide variety of materials; some examples include:
- Adire (tie-dye): Made by Yoruba people
- Aso oke fabric: Woven by Yoruba people
- Barkcloth: Made by the Buganda tribe
- Kente cloth: Woven by Ashanti
- Kitenge: Made in Kenya and other East Africa countries
- Mudcloth: Produced by the Bambara tribe
Traditional African fabrics are still handcrafted using techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation for millennia. Patterns and colors are often linked to tradition. Commonly, models have been used to distinguish one African tribe or group of humans from another.
TYPES OF AFRICAN CLOTHING FOR FASHION DISPLAY
As mentioned earlier, Africa has an incredible variety of garments. Below is a list of some types of clothing found in Africa and sold worldwide.
- Aso Oke hat
- Ethiopian suit
- Ghanaian smock
- Head tie
- Kofia (hat)
- Madiba shirt
- Senegalese kaftan
- Turkish cap
You can also join the revolution of the Africa Fabrics and makes it more acceptable by non-African around Europe, America, Asia, and the rest of the world.