A phenomenon arising within a cross-section of society is the perception that African Fashion is one and the same as Wax Prints ! This perception couldn’t be further from the truth. Africans created and adorned their bodies with fashion pieces that were unique to the environment and socio-cultural constructs of their societies in years past.
Just as different segments of culture (food, music,art etcetera) evolves over time, so does fashion. It should come as no surprise then, that wax prints eventually emerged within the fashion landscape of African communities and shaped the perception of African fashion. Although the attention it has drawn to the African continent has been positive and welcoming, it is equally important to create an awareness on the versatility of African fashion.
African fashion is not limited to wax prints. Rather, it is made up of different textures, symbols and silhouettes. For instance, the Ashanti’s of Ghana are known as the originators of the kente cloth whereas the Northerners of Ghana are the initiators of the “batakari“.
Upon entering the East-African realm, one is exposed to elegant and charming traditional attires such as the “kanzu” , “kanga” and “gomesi” .
What about Southern Africa ? As is often the case, Africa’s rich diversity is imminent in its fashion. South African’s are known for their elaborate head gears , long clothing and the “madiba” shirt of course . Safari shirts usually bring Zimbabwe to mind :).
Venturing into the Horn of Africa, distinctive fashionable clothing such as the Ethiopian suit, habesha kemis, khamis and koofiyads can be observed.
Clearly, African fashion is not limited to African Prints ! Rather, clothing featuring African prints happen to be a subset of the diverse, distinguished, creative and enthralling pieces that make up African fashion.
© 2018 Sherita Brace