There’s no one definition of ‘African’ in African fashion
Dim and distance, matured men and women were identified by African dressing; women wore long dresses and the men wore a four-piece coordinated babariga outfit featuring a hat, long-sleeved shirt, agbada bubu (sort of like a flowing cape) and trousers while young ladies were adorning themselves with the youthful way of dressing like wearing trousers, short skirts and skimpy dresses.
But today, that distinction cannot be easily tell with many young ladies adapting the old African Print designs with a little touch of modernity- a more stylish and fashionable way that obviously catches the attention.So the idea of African clothing inspires images of rich colours and ceremonial dress but, the fact is, African clothing is as diverse as the African continent. Africa’s ancient civilisations demonstrate the continent’s long history of creating clothing for utilitarian as well as celebratory and symbolic purposes. Despite its many variations, there are several unifying features of and facts about African clothing.
There are countless types of African clothing, but some styles that stand out for their popularity or their symbolic significance include
Africans continue to make many traditional clothes from centuries ago, although designers may sometimes add modern elements. One of the more well-known garments from Nigeria that is worn for special events is called “Aso Ilu Oke,” also known as “Aso-Oke” or “Aso-Ofi.” In this case, the material is woven on a loom. Then the separate panels are sewn side-by-side, similar to quilting. The women’s Aso Ilu Oke includes a “blousy” shirt, a wrap-around skirt, a head tie and a shawl.
A very popular men’s, and more recently unisex, garment from Africa is called the “danshiki” or “dashiki.” This long shirt, with or without sleeves, normally extends to the upper thigh and is embroidered or decorated with a variety of prints, especially around the neckline. Men often wear it with a brimless “kufi” hat.
African clothes are known for their variety of decorative prints and bright colours. The “kaftan” or “kaftan,” for example, is a long garment with or without sleeves that is now mostly worn by women. In earlier history, however, African men normally wore the garment. Researchers also report that ancient Egyptians, such as Cleopatra, wore decorated silk kaftans. The term “kaftan” has become a generic word, and is used throughout Africa and other parts of the world.
Traditional South African Dress
The women who wear the traditional dress of the South African Xhosa people drape a shawl or blanket over their shoulders with a long skirt that sometimes is adorned with braiding. Their heads are covered with a turban that is loosely wound. For special events, the dress may be decorated with bead work.
For men, a standout African ensemble consists of a four-piece coordinated outfit featuring a hat, long-sleeved shirt, agbada bubu (sort of like a flowing cape) and trousers.
Some of the classic features of African clothing pertain to its colours and prints. Patterns may be created by tie-dye or batik, a method of applying wax to fabric before dying it. Embroidery, brocade and beading are common ornamentation. For special occasion or expensive clothing, people still hand-weave the fabric, using traditional looms.
Traditional African clothing represents different regions’ natural resources and agricultural practices. Hence, locally grown cotton is a typical element in African clothing. However, in the Sahel and in North Africa, people also use camel and sheep wool to weave fabric. In Central and West Africa, raffia palm is a common fibre. In West Africa and Madagascar, flax and jute comprise part of the textiles. Silk is produced in East Africa and Nigeria.
African fashion can be a fraught concept. They are not too cliche, too trendy, too backward, or too-fashion forward so you just need chill out and don’t need to over think this. Just wear it.