Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

African traditional attire recovers lost values

The 19 century colonization of Africa had not only reaped Africa of their language and culture, but the entire continent witnessed its traditional attires being completely westernized. Youths especially had completely swayed away from the traditional outfit as well as the form of dressing and embraced European styles which according to them was more presentable. However, the 21 century is recording a paradigm shift as far as this domain is concerned as not only Africans, but the world at large have developed significant interest in Africa wears.

In the past, persons who were seen dressed in African fabrics were not given high regards as it was considered an old fashioned way of dressing. Men were expected to be well suited with shirt and tie, if they had to make a public appearance, while women on their part were expected to appear with the latest western fashion design. Many had been made to think that to be well dressed means following the western standards of dressing.

The scenario today is fast changing as Africans themselves have found a way to give credits and value to their dressing culture. People today are even more proud to show off their traditional outfit and some will go a step further to add the African label to it. The youth themselves find it more stylish to appear in an African fabric and have also been able to imbibe a lot of creativity into it.

African designers have also been very skillful in combining the western designs to the African fabrics to give it another touch of class. Today, shoes, bags and even jewelries have been given an African value as they are designed and embroidered with African traditional materials. In Ghana, several fashion industries are now producing African print garments and clothes that adopts the western style. Even suits and jackets are made of a mixture of western cotton materials and local African prints.

However, it is very much surprising to see how this African clothing has not only been warmly embraced by the Africans themselves, but Europeans are also gradually adapting to this culture. A glaring example is the case of the British Prime Minister, Teresa May in her recent visit to Nigeria was seen in a dressed made by Nigerian designer with an African fabric. Tourists who visit the continent pride themselves in returning home with a piece of African fabric.

It is common place now to see people in Europe wearing clothing manufactured from African print materials. Also the use of beads as chains, bracelets is no longer limited to countries like Ghana, Senegal but can be found in many parts of the world.

This display in Africa’s colourful wears are in most cases seen during traditional weddings. Generally, most countries especially Cameroon have preferred to copy the Nigerian “Agbada” or men while the women are gradually adopting the “Gele”. Also Ghana’s Kente is also widely cherished throughout the continent.

AFRIC Editorial Article.

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