The revolutionary, Marvel Box Office movie release, Black Panther, has sparked an overwhelming interest in everything African. More specifically, African clothing and other African style adornments. The cast, both on-set and offset adorned themselves in pure African style, exuding a sense of grandeur and splendor.
If the Black Panther Premiere was anything to go by, traditional African garments have the ability to seamlessly display a sense of royalty and awe. The influence of the movie itself, as well as the African styled clothing, has seeped through the Black American society. Hence, it has led to many embracing their African roots, with many unapologetically adorning themselves with African garbs and accessories.
Celebrities were not left behind as Beyonce effortlessly makes a statement at the 2018 Pre- Grammy Gala. Her dress, clearly a work of art as it twisted and turned to create a breathtaking design. The entire ensemble, complete with a unique ruffled skirt, and turtleneck bodice were all black, paying homage to the Black Panther Movie. The likes of Rihanna, an icon in her own right, followed suit spicing up the red carpet significantly.
This has boosted African clothing businesses and stores tremendously. For instance, Crown Ruby Collection has experienced a 25% increase in sales since the release of the movie. Undoubtedly, African style clothing has carved a name for itself in the fashion world and is here to stay.
For the purposes of this article, we shall be taking an in-depth look at African clothing. Let us start by taking a looking at the clothes that the African people so effortlessly adorn themselves with. In other words, what kind of clothes do Africans wear?
The continent of Africa is truly a cradle of different ethnic cultures, languages and traditions. Their differences in culture and tradition are clearly reflected and remain evident in the way they dress, speak and act. Even their food holds a sense of unique individuality that is distinct from other languages and culture.
Let us, however; focus on African clothing. Their clothing always embodies a myriad of bright hues and regal patterns that are nothing short of enchanting. Everything from the African Mens clothing and the African Women’s clothing displays a sense of timelessness.
African traditional clothing is often specifically tailored to fit the body type of the client. In other words, African style clothing is tailored to different sizes and designs to meet various markets, including the Plus Size African Clothing market.
African Men’s Clothing, depending on the culture it reflects, are often intricately designed to symbolize strength and dominance. Traits that obviously seek to express masculinity in every way.
African Women’s clothing on the other hand, often symbolize elegance and feminity. Most African Dresses are designed to hug the body so as to accentuate a woman’s natural curves. However, there are some that are made to fit loosely. Again, this all depends on the culture and tradition upheld in that particular African country.
Take Nigeria for example. Women in that particular country often wear head ties and body-hugging dresses. Nigerian men are known for wearing outfits such as Grand boubou and Djellaba. The Dashiki is also a prominent piece of African traditional clothing in West Africa.
The East African women are known for adorning themselves in Kangas. A Kanga is simply a piece of cotton material that the women often tie around their waste, or even place over their heads. The men often wear long robes that are known as Kanzus. The men often compliment this look with a hat known as a taqiya. Every item of African clothing is distinct and unique, reflecting the culture of the region.
From the above mentioned African traditional clothing items, the Dashiki is one that has entered the American market. Let us take a detailed look at this.
The Dashiki and The American Clothing Market
The dashiki made its first appearance in the American Market in the 1960s. Its acceptance was fueled by the political struggles among the blacks such as the Black Power movement.
The year 1968 saw an article by Faith Berry on the clothing item in the New York Time Magazine. Not too long after, Dashiki was formally published in the Webster’s New World Dictionary.
The slow embrace of this African style clothing led to a culmination of events that embedded itself into the hearts of millions. Its acceptance and influence are evident even in the 21st century. From being featured in different movies to being adorned with celebrity icons such as Rihanna, it is clear that the dashiki is here to stay.
The Dashiki has also infiltrated the business and political world, as most African American leaders fiercely wear them. This begs the question, why is it so popular? What does a Dashiki represent?
What Does A Dashiki Represent?
In African countries, wearing a Dashiki is a cultural fit and normal. However, in America, wearing a Dashiki is more than just celebrating the Black History Month. It’s a statement. As previously stated, the Dashiki first made its appearance in America during the political struggles among the American African in the 1960s.
At the time, it was worn to symbolize affirmation. It was a way of taking a stand and protesting against how the African American society was treated and disrespected. Up until now, African Americans wear Dashiki’s to communicate the message that Black is Beautiful. This colorful garment is more than just a fashion statement, it’s a symbol of the African culture and its beauty. If you are in the market for African style clothing, you can easily purchase them from online stores. There are numerous African clothing online stores available today