Pinning the exact date or time when African dresses/fashion started will be pretty difficult. There are no written documents that predate how the dressing styles of Africans came to be. The reason for this can be solely dependent on the fact that Africans are more into performance traditions than the written traditions of the western world.
Tellem cave paintings in Mali gave evidence of cloth fragments that are handwoven and artwork from Egypt, 5000BC, gave an insight as to the dressing code of African people before this era.
Before now, they wear a small piece of cloth around their waist, neck, and head to protect them from the weather and sometimes it is like a drape. Several of these dresses are made from animal skin, fur, feathers and leaf. Due to the fact that the used garment might be small, a large portion of the body is not usually covered. Regardless of this, they make sure to cover their private part – which is of most importance.
Africans are of diverse cultures and traditions – as one tribe differs from another so is the dress style. African dress is a dress culture where individuals and tribes wear what befits or interpreters their immediate personality. It might be a traditional attire exclusively for a bride, a king, what young maidens wear to showcase their status as single women, or even what the warriors wear. These and so many reasons are the essences of the dress cultures of the African people. However, the African dress is not to be confused or seen as a costume – costume hides the personality of a person, African dress tells more about the personality of the individual.
THE ENLARGEMENT OF AFRICAN FASHION
Prior to this era, Africans have styles and patterns that are culture-specific. However as globalization takes place and women became much aware of their identity, the need to stand out from the crowd emerges. These needs, lead to so many creativity in African dresses – where a style is merging to another to form a new kind.
Furthermore, some African beauties desire the fashion style of their counterparts in European countries – why Africans do not believe in showing off, of the skin, the Europeans do not mind. The admiration of the western attire leads to daring styles that show off shapes and cleavages of some African woman.
As culture is a way of life, Africans used Ankara and other related African fabrics to design dresses that are peculiar to them. No one wants to be left out or seen as old fashioned, so the hunt for trending styles continues. The manufacturing industries also sprang up with colourful patterns, and layers that are ever revolving giving the African creative designers several tools to explore with.
TRENDING AFRICAN PATTERNS
Ankara is clothing in wax, made in Africa particularly West Africa. They are colourful cotton cloths industrially produced with batik (an Indonesian method of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth) creative printing. The fabric can be arranged into segments of class owing to the process of manufacturing. These cloths are a non-verbal way of communication among African women and they range in different prices. They also come in 6 and 12yards so one can purchase based on the money at hand. Despite being used to produce different African dresses, hats, bags, shoes and predominantly use in west Africa, the biggest producer of this print is Vlisco – a manufacturing company in Holland.
The sleeveless short gown will look better on someone who is not too fat and busty. Also, it really will not go down well if worn to a religious gathering but if you can handle the eyes, go ahead. On a final note, please do not bring out your bra hand when wearing a dress that is showing of the shoulders.
This type of gowns can be worn to several occasions like evening dinners or events. It is fitted and stylish for any good day. Ladies who do not have ample hips and are looking to make it fuller should consider the second style.
The masi gown dress will fit those who have rides because when coming back from your occasion, you might be a little exhausted and trying to pack the dress all the time is sometimes annoying if you are walking – the other gowns can also do the trick. (Just saying) So if you want to rock these outfits, wear a high heels shoe so it does not touch the floor.
Danshiki is a colourful material worn by both men and women. It usually comes in v-neck and it has been styled into numerous African dresses. From top to short gowns, and skirt. It’s also used to beautify other cotton materials.
The Danshiki top can be worn on fitted jeans. The hand length can be short or long sleeves. However, make sure what ever you are pairing it with, is not large – if it’s not the masi gown style you want to pull of.
Often worn by women and wrapped around the waist or chest, used as headscarf and baby carrier. kitenge an east Africa, west Africa and central Africa fabric is inexpensive to purchase and normally worn as informal clothes. They come in different designs and patterns that anyone can rock with a nice fitted style.
Styles in Kitenge