African Fashion - The Basics Of Africa Heritage -

African Fashion – The Basics Of Africa Heritage

African Fashion

African Fashion is a popular example of the cultural diversity that Africa possesses. Its purpose is to represent the local culture in a way that is universal. It was started in the 1950s by women and men from various cultures who wanted to put their own distinctive stamp on their clothes.

The basic goal of this project was to create unique, stylish, and interesting clothing that would increase women’s confidence and appreciation for fashion design. Today, there are a variety of design techniques that have evolved from traditional styles to the latest styles. As each country has different influences, and each individual has different traditions, styles, and designs, African Fashion is a very broad subject that covers all the aspects of this incredible continent.

Traditional African Fashion

African Fashion - The Basics Of Africa Heritage
African Fashion – The Basics Of Africa Heritage

The traditional style uses mainly simple patterns, many of which are not embellished. The patterns are designed to achieve the best balance between the simplicity of design and sophistication that are easily noticeable. Some of the designs use geometric shapes that are visually appealing.

A popular design is a torbie; which is a flowing wrap or draped piece of material that creates an illusion of thickness and fullness. The torbie may be draped over the shoulders or thrown over the body for a casual look. The torbie is often worn with heavy jewelry that is dyed in bright colors, such as purple, gold, or green. The color of the jewelry and the material of the orbit can be determined by the fabric used.

Moreover, draping, traditionally done by a bride on her wedding day, has become a huge trend in Africa today. Wearing a traditional jeweled bridal dress with multiple straps; that drape across the body in colorful fabrics can evoke a sense of style and elegance. The draping style is very striking and adds color to the overall look.

Taking Keen Interest On Accessories

There is a large number of beads and sequins incorporated into this style of draping. In addition, there are popular patterns such as the lasso, baby boomers, and the tribal stripes that are used in order to add interest to the overall look.

Native African fabrics such as zebra print; shaker, and oleander are used to create vivid and strong prints that are unique to African culture. These types of fabrics often feature brightly hued colors that can be reminiscent of modern Western culture.

Polyester is another fabric that is becoming very popular for African Fashion. It offers a great choice of colors and textures that can be used in all kinds of African clothes; from skirts to dresses. Hence, it can even be used to make accessories for these items, which include necklaces, bags, and sandals.

African Culture And Its Riches

African Fashion - The Basics Of Africa Heritage
African Fashion – The Basics Of Africa Heritage

Because of the richness of culture and tradition that exist in Africa; there are a variety of different techniques that are used to make traditional items. Many sites that are dedicated to this topic, such as Swatchy’s Designs. There are also a number of national designs that can be purchased online; such as those of Senegal, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Traditional African Clothing makes use of different fabrics are bought from different countries, depending on the specific designers. The Nigerian designers only use cotton and lard while the Kenyan and Kikuyu designers use silk and artificial leather. To get a true feel of the original style; it is important to purchase authentic African pieces of clothing that are unique to the country.


Although the concept of African fashion is very popular in some areas of the world, it is often misunderstood. With the right tools and resources, it is possible to recreate some of the traditional designs.

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