African dress also includes imported items from worldwide sources made by complex machines and techniques (British top hats and homburgs, French designer gowns, Italian shoes and handbags, and Swiss laces along with secondhand clothing from the United States) from commercially produced materials. Kente cloth is made out of interwoven cloth strips of silk and cotton. In many cases, middle-class and wealthy African men and women enjoy a wardrobe of many types of dress, selecting from a variety of Western pieces of apparel or from indigenous items. She took inspiration from South African sources from clothing of indigenous groups of people to artists such as Barbara Tyrrell and Marlene Dumas. Secondhand clothing is found in everyday apparel for many people, regardless of their class difference. The oba of Benin puts on slippers covered with coral beads as part of his ceremonial dress, and the royal ensemble of the Alake of Abeokuta includes colorful slippers covered with tiny imported glass beads. The colonial impact and trade contacts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are seen in several women's gowns. Pokornowski, Ila, Joanne Eicher, Moira Harris, and Otto Thieme, eds. Gele is worn on special occasions, and is made out of firmer material than the usual cloth. In Nigeria, women wear head ties. Tellem caves in Mali provide cloth fragments that give evidence of hand woven apparel before Saharan trade or coastal contacts. They are often large and elaborate.  All of these groups of people, share the common home of South Africa, have for themselves distinctive languages and culture . Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1996. There are no more dashikis, kaftans, boubou, or aso oke, now the Africans are modernized, so their wardrobe has pencil dresses, prints, trousers, jumpsuits and many more types of clothing.  Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are one of the top destinations for the import of used clothing. It’s like a wonderful shirt, covering the top half of the body. The second hand clothing industry has left both positive and negative impacts within African society. She founded Zizi Industrial Clothing Company in 2000, with the desire to globalize the African fabric and designs so as to give rise to a proud Nigerian globally. . Revue Noire 27 (December 1997, January–Feburary 1998). African Dress: A Select and Annotated Bibliography. By looking at one's clothing, you can learn something about the way people of that time thought and felt. In contrast to those who refrain from wearing African items, some non-Africans embrace them: Peace Corps volunteers from the United States in Nigeria found the Yoruba dansiki (more commonly known in the United States as "dashiki") a handsome and comfortable shirt to wear. The Akan people chose the kente cloth as a symbol of their name, colors and patterns. These written messages communicate political or social points of view. The clothing is what we are most interested in, mainly because, in this day and age, western clothing has become common with traditional attire being used during important ceremonies or stages in life. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. Eicher, Joanne, ed. Preshaped garments for men and women in general came from contact with Europeans and Middle Easterners, as women adopted dresses and gowns and men adopted jackets, shirts, and trousers as clothing styles. It was the cloth of kings. © 2019 Encyclopedia.com | All rights reserved. Oxford: Berg, 1999. African dress, like dress everywhere, communicates age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, power, and religious commitment for everyday, celebratory, ceremonial, and ritual occasions. For example, Ugandan men have started to wear “full length trousers and long-sleeved shirts”. Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. For example, the long gown (called boubou) made popular by Wolof women in Senegal indicates probable Muslim and Middle Eastern origins, whereas the gowns of Herero women in Namibia, Efik women in Nigeria, and the "granny" gown of women in Egypt show nineteenth-century European contact. This is always a good and colorful option. "Spécial Mode: African Fashion." Since urban areas are full of fast and changing lifestyles, they are able to adapt to the change in cultures, such as change in tradition dress. Kaftan is loose-fitting pullover wear. It was used as a symbol of the social status, but it was also worn just for the aesthetic appeal, by both genders. Aesthetically, individuals can manipulate color, texture, shape, and proportion with great skill. Impressiveness through bulk can be achieved by layering garments and jewelry or using heavy fabric. Generally, it seems that most countries have adapted to the use of secondhand clothing and have used it to their advantage. Some Masai children wear miniature examples of these beaded necklaces as well as beaded bracelets and anklets. If african culture does not accept justice, equality and dignity of a woman as a human being, then it’s time that same culture went the way of the dinosaurs. This type of print has influenced and inspired many in the fashion. To keep it similar to the original and traditional attire, Africans incorporate the African wax print or Ankara print and try to wear the traditional clothes as well as the modern ones. Along with Western fashions found across the continent, indigenous fashions also abound. For example, many countries in West Africa have a “distinct regional dress styles that are the products of long-standing textile crafts in weaving, dyeing, and printing", but these traditions are still able to coexist with western styles. The most beautiful and extravagant head ties are in Ghana, gele. Along with fashionable Western dress, Africans wear Islamic and indigenous apparel. London: Barbican Art Gallery, 1996. Many materials are used for these items. In addition to these sources, the introduction of metal also gave them more choices for fashion. Fashionable handbags are commercially manufactured; some are produced domestically while others are imported. Others[who?] African Textiles and Decorative Arts. This garment is one of the simpler styles in African clothing, but with its magnificent colors, the very present of a boubou can be glorious. The cloth is printed in repeat motifs that include a motto or saying. (October 16, 2020). Stylish coiffure, headwear, and appropriate cosmetics often complete African ensembles of dress, and in addition provide information about gender, age, political position, or community standing. In Southern Africa, distinctive shirts are worn, like the long dresses they wear. In addition, Africans produce their own designer garments from both imported and locally made textiles and also transform imported secondhand clothing into locally admired fashions. Clothing and Difference: Embodied Identities in Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa. Urban societies typically are exposed more to trade and the changing world, while it takes more time for new western trends to get to rural areas. Soon, western charitable organizations began to send used clothing to African refugees and the poor. Another impact that could be argued either negatively or positively, is that secondhand clothing has become more common to wear than classic African textiles. Some African designers, like the Malian, Xuly Bët, left Africa to become successful in Paris, New York, and elsewhere.