African Cloth or Clothing commonly refers to the traditional clothing worn by the people of Africa and the fabric they’re made with.
Different Africans throughout the continent represent their tribes with different clothing styles. These include clothing they use for special occasions or ceremonies.
There are many different styles of clothing in existence, however it’s not only the design that matters, but also the type of cloth or fabric used to create the clothing item.
Clothing fabric is often used to show the economic or financial status of an individual in that particular tribe or society.
The exact origin of some African clothing are quite difficult to trace considering the lack of historical or written evidence due to the fact that most African traditions are passed down orally from generation to generation much like their culture.
Traditional African Cloth / Clothing
These are also known as Tribal clothing. You will see them mostly worn during ceremonies, festivals, funerals and other important occasions.
Kitenge originates from East Africa. It’s often worn by women and can be used as a head scarf or wrapped around the chest or waist. Kitenges can be identified by their colourful appearance. In some countries like Kenya and Tanzania, Kitenges normally have Swahili text on them.
The Kuba cloth is a handwoven cloth made from the strands of raffia palm leaves. It is then dyed in variety of earthy colours using vegetable dye. There are generally 3 types of clothes made from the woven cloth. These are men and women skirts and then women’s overskirts.
Occasions that require these type of clothing are generally ceremonial events mostly funeral related. These clothes are worn by layering them on top of one another at the waist creating a heavy appearance.
Kente refers to a Ghanaian textile, made of handwoven cloth, strips of silk and cotton. Historically the fabric was worn in a toga-like fashion by royalty among ethnic groups such as the Ashanti
Modern African Clothing
These types of clothing are what we’d consider formal casual. They have a modern feel without losing the traditional touch.
Ankara, African wax prints or Dutch wax prints whichever you decide to call them by are omnipresent and common materials for clothing in Africa, especially West Africa. They are commercially produced bright cotton cloths with batik-inspired prints.
A kaftan basically has a similar design to a robe or tunic. It originates from Asia however it’s not only limited to that part of the world. The kaftan has been worn by a number of different people and cultures around the world.
Most people wear the Kaftan as a coat since it usually has long sleeves and extends all the way to the ankles.
Dashiki is a colorful garment worn in the western part of Africa. It mainly covers the top part of the body. There’s many different versions out there. From informal casual to formal ceremonial.
The word “dashiki” comes from the Yoruba word danshiki, used to refer to the loose-fitting pullover which originated in West Africa as a functional work tunic for men, comfortable enough to wear in the heat.OkayAfrica
These are not the only African Clothes or Clothing styles out there. However we feel that these are some of the most common ones out there. There’s more even we haven’t heard of before.
Know any cool ones you would like to share with us?
Drop your thoughts in the comments section below.