Fashion in Africa: Trendy Traditional Wear

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Across the diverse African cultures, age and social standing is reflected in the clothes a person wears. The assortment  of cultures, ethnic groups and religions has given rise to a variety of traditional wear. These African dresses have perforated in the mainstream fashion shows such as New York Fashion Week. Here, we take a look at the various types of trendy traditional wear found in popular African destinations.

Cameroon is popular for intricate beadwork and brightly coloured fabrics.  The Toghu used to be worn by royalty but is now worn in festivities, weddings and feasts.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa hence  over 250 ethnic groups. Though the traditional wear is similar in some tribes, The kaftan remains popular for its flexibility to fit the individual personal taste and the creativity of your designer.

Kenya Khangas are cotton cloths which feature colourful patterns and Swahili sayings. The kikoi is handmade and usually comes in different shades of red mixed with black or blue.

Ethiopia is a land of fascinating tribes particularly those that live in the rugged terrain of the South Ethiopian Rift Valley famous for lip plate and scarring their bodies.  Tibeb is a pattern woven into the border of Shemma worn by Christian populations of the northern and central highlands in Ethiopia as well as Eritrea.

Ghana was once known as Asanti Kingdom which used to stretch to Ivory Coast. The Kente cloth was worn by Asanti (or Ashanti) royalty but has now been adopted widely in Ghana. Kente is woven by hand and the various colours in the cloth symbolize various aspects. Blue for harmony, gold for royalty and white or grey for holiness.

South Africa‘s cultures have a complex dress code informed by a person’s social standing (married, chief, warrior). The Madiba Shirt is however a unifying dress code popularized by Nelson Mandela.

 

What’s the traditional garb in your country?

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