Unravelling the Story Behind African Fashion

We have a guest post today from writer, Jackie Edwards, about traditional fashion in Africa.  She recently covered 10 of the most beautiful traditional garments from Africa and here introduces that article.  A link to the list is found at the bottom and is well worth the read - lots of fun and inspiration! Folkwear has a patterns from African traditional clothing here and here and a child's pattern in this one - and we will be adding a new one in the spring! 

Thanks, Jackie!


Unravelling the Story Behind African Fashion

African fashion designer, Mahlet Afework, has said “there is beauty in everything and there is beauty in African fashion”. African fashion is extraordinarily beautiful because it all tells a story. By looking at the bright colors and intricate design, one can tell where the garment was made and what it is used for.

In Northeastern Africa, styles have been influenced by Middle Eastern culture, whereas the Northwestern fashions have remained more genuine and true to the African culture. In East Africa, Swahili speaking men wear the kanzu while women wear the kanga and gomesi, and in Sahelian Africa, the dashiki and grand boubou and more popular. Southern African fashion can be identified by shirts that are worn like long dresses, such as the Madiba shirt in South Africa and the safari shirt in Zimbabwe.

The styles and trends in Africa are a true representation of the fashion world. In fashion, you should dress in a way that most represents you and African fashion truly embraces this aspect.

To learn more about the fashion and how you can identify the story behind the clothing, check out these 10 traditional African fashion trends.