Fashion is the main ingredient that provides flavor to any culture and society. In the past, fashion was one of the sources to understand a society’s collective behaviors. However, it’s not the case anymore. Due to British and European colonialism, most countries worldwide have integrated their prints into European clothing styles. Africa is one of those countries that has pricked the positives of European and American fashion and introduced a new and better version.
It has influenced its unique, beautiful prints, vibrant colors, and aesthetic elements into modern clothing that has become the new talk of the town. It is one of the countries that has successfully influenced the world with its culture integrated into modern designs. Technological advancements have enriched the world through African fashion. Thanks to influential people like Beyoncé and Michelle Obama, people finally realize what they were missing in their clothing. However, we don’t know the roots of these designs.
The article will take you through the history of African clothing to the evolution where Africa is heavily influencing the fashion industry worldwide.
The Evolution Of African-Flavored Clothing
Initially, African’s did not dress up for warmth due to the warm climate. Loin cloths, aprons, and wraps were good-to-go options for the people. Moreover, the trade routes between Africa, Europe, and the East initiated fashionable patterns in Africa. Since then, there’s no looking back. Beads, buttons, and other ornaments were adopted on bright African prints that began a new era of clothing. As the weaving techniques improved by introducing machines, the locals went on trying various fabrics like silk, cotton, raffia, and wool. The wax prints that are the undeniable beauty of African fashion have their roots in the 19th century. The designs and patterns became a form of communication between groups and individuals.
African Prints As A New Language
You read that right!
African’s are the pioneer of using prints as a symbolic language. It all started in the 70s when African-inspired clothing was symbolized as the “Black Power Movement.” The popular dashiki design worn by most African Americans in the 70s became the gesture of African and Afrocentric pride. To date, African designers use African prints to highlight movements in favor of Black people globally through fashion.
African Designers Creating Difference Through Style
Africa’s culture and fashion is undoubtedly a head-turner, but we can certainly not deny the hard work and thoughtful impact of African designers on the fashion industry. Designers like Lisa Folawiyo, Folake Folarin Coker, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Selly Raby Kane have spiced up the game through their passion for showcasing their roots.
Today more and more African fashion influencers are embedding African prints and colors to create their unique impact on the fashion industry. Some are doing it purposely to show their roots with rich art and culture, while others are inspired by the aesthetic feel. Irrespective of the reason, the future of African fashion seems bright. The world is desperately waiting to see how far outstanding prints will lead the global fashion industry.