Africa is known for many things, but most outstanding is its fabrics, Ankara dresses and native outfits. This native wears come in different patterns, prints and can be tailored in different styles to suit the needs of the dresser. This may have resulted in a lot of styles originating from the Africa dressing market. However, some design and styles have brought out the bold nature of the African Attires while others have sold the beauty of African fabric and attire to the world.
African fabrics and prints are worn with pleasure by men, women and children. Hence, it has become the pride of its people. No wonder, Africans in diaspora wear the Ankara as uniform whenever they come together for meetings, gathering or any form of celebrations. Many don’t know the history of African cloth, the significance of the colours and the prints. Still, African fabrics have bright colours, idiosyncratic designs and patterns that are hand-made which give us a sense of a rich cultural heritage.
Customarily, African cloths were worn for special occasions such as family reunions, weddings, and events. The fabric forms part of a cultural heritage and identity.
Africa has a variety of fabrics from different groups of people. Here are a few;
In South Africa, the Shweshwe is a printed dyed cotton fabric used for traditional South African clothing. Traditionally, it serves for weddings and family functions and is mainly produced in three colours brown, red and blue.
In Nigeria, the Ankara is a popular print outfit. It gained popularity in global fashion in 2010. Before then, it had been in existence for many years. Ankara was originally manufactured by the Dutch for the Indonesian textile market, but it gained significantly in West African countries because of the tribal-like patterns.
In Cote d’Ivoire, the Baoule is woven in five-inch wide strips of fabric. The strips are sewn together to make the fabric. It is heavy and thick. They are used to design bags, shoes, dresses and African shirts for the men.
Last on this display roll is Kente from Ghana (West Africa). Kente is a brightly coloured, inked material with different patterns and designs. The Kente cloth is a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips. This fabric has also been adopted by Cote d’Ivoire. The Kente was originally manufactured in yellow and green, but we have now seen the fabric in different colours and designs without losing the Kente pattern.
In all, African fabrics have caught the attention of the world an fast being used for dress ups. As diverse cultures and many people around the world have come to associate their style with the Africa dressing. Some have fallen in love with the Ankara and fabrics, while others copy the styles and patterns. This may be as a result of its textures, design or just maybe its history and origin.