If you love bright, vibrant colored clothing and you are excited about wearing striking, bold patterns with the desire to be unique in your clothing choices and stand out from the crowd then, African fashion is definitely for you. Say hello to your new statement wardrobe that looks simply gorgeous in every season. African fashion is very versatile and gives you the opportunity to experiment with colors and patterns to create a new look every day if you so desire. Weather you wish to incorporate African prints into your style or you wish to be more statement-making in your clothing choices, then you should take inspiration from the world of African fashion and grace your wardrobe with it.

Evolution of African fashion

African fashion is united with its culture and as such, it is represented through textile, design and styling. Regardless of Africa’s diversity in culture, customs and traditional attires, the African fashion wear shares similarities from embroidered robes to colorfully patterned fabrics, beaded necklaces and bracelets etc. Over the years, African fashion has since experienced various stages of transitioning in men and women styles and most especially in women’s fashion and it has significantly evolved through three eras:

The pre-colonial era

Fashion in the pre-colonial era reflected an undiluted form of cultural designs and style. During this time many in the African society dedicated their time to arts and crafts, wax prints, sculpting, carving and many more. Designing served as a tool for showcasing the culture of different communities and clothing became one of the canvases used to mirror artistic designs inspired by various cultural beliefs of the diverse African communities. The style of dressing especially for the women folks was strongly significant in this era. The beauty, age and status of women were judged by their clothing and accessories. The first form of clothing were wrappers and women wore them around their waist or across their chest adorned with beads, beautification marks known as tribal marks and color paintings on the body. The African fashion in this era can be classified as traditionally suggestive and originally artistic.

Colonial era

The colonization of many African communities forced the adoption of western style in African fashion and many African wear and fashion styles underwent changes. The introduction of western clothing like pleated skirts, blouses, trousers, ball gowns, boots and hats came into existence and spread wide to many areas in Africa. The African fashion experienced a drastic change of style consequently, many traditional outfits were replaced and some were influenced by western fashion. By the 15th century, African women fashion transitioned to a merge of both western and African fashion due to the shipping routes opened between Africa, Europe and the East. Trades across the borders brought in materials like shells, pearls, shiny stones, buttons etc. used to accessorize traditional clothing.

The Present

Presently, western fashion serves as one of the bedrocks of African fashion and the western fashion style has been taken, broken and molded into African styles. Western wear is now sewn with African materials such as Kente and Ankara amongst others. African traditional attire has undergone changes with inspiration rooted in African culture and these works are being exported all over the world taking charge of the contemporary women’s fashion style including the everyday bougie and elegant fashion style. Globally, the African fashion style is in the spotlight from international runways to international trade fair centers, music videos and even worn by international celebrities.

There is no doubt that African fashion is on the rise and designers from all over the continent are showcasing their talents and creativity and the rest of the world is taking notice. From the Ankara print popular in Nigeria to the Kente cloth of Ghana, each region has its unique pattern symbolizing its culture. The great thing about these prints is how they are mixed and matched together so beautifully in one outfit. Here are reasons to love and invest in African fashion:

Versatile and Easy to incorporate into your everyday style

African fashion is very versatile and easy to incorporate into your everyday style. The best thing is, you can make it unique to fit your sense of style and to fit any occasion.  Whether you are dressing for a day at the office, a night out or a special event, there is an outfit that will suit your needs. Printed fabrics are often used to make dresses for women while the men can wear them as shirts or pants. African fashion designers have also created lines of modern clothing like jean jackets and other fabrics paired together with traditional prints showing how versatile these garments are! Alternatively, if you wish to look fancy in a little black dress or effortless with your tee and jeans, African-inspired accessories like scarf, turban, printed headband, beaded shoes or necklaces can add some interest to your looks.

Bright, bold and beautiful prints

One of the best things about African fashion is the array of bold statement colors and prints. You can either make your whole outfit bright, bold and beautiful or just choose a statement piece to incorporate into your look to add a new element of interest. Each print is inspired by designs and patterns from different regions throughout Africa with each print having a story behind it. The best thing about the variety of colors is that you can match it to your personality and play around with the right tones that complement your skin tone the best. I’d say have fun with it and experiment and you will learn what works for you to create your fashion statement.

Allows you experiment with patterns and prints

African fashion is a lot more interesting with many different prints and patterns to choose from with each telling and conveying different stories and tales. Prints and patterns can add interest and meaning into your style and there are a lot of prints and patterns available to choose from to express your personal style. You might also find the fashion trend of mixing and matching your prints and patterns creative and fun and African prints are a great way to start. I particularly love that you can clash your prints; experimenting with different patterns which ensure your outfit comes out unique. As a rule of thumb, choose a dominant print that will be the focus of your outfit and a smaller print that will serve as the backdrop. If you still find mixing your patterns daunting, simply stick to two different prints of the same color or same prints of different colors for a more cohesive look.

Comfortable and fresh

Another thing you will love about African fashion is how comfortable it is. The fabrics are often lightweight and breathable made from hand-woven cotton, making them perfect for any climate. They come in a wide range so you can find something that suits your style without sacrificing your comfort. African fashion offers something unique and exciting for everyone so, if you are looking to add a touch of functionality to your wardrobe, African fashion is the way to go as many designers even value the form and functionality of clothing over fads and trends making African fashion more creative and meaningful.

African fashion is becoming more contemporary – featuring influences from foreign cultures and mixing it with local ones. African fabrics are no longer seen as ‘traditional wears’ as it has greatly been infused into western fashion. It is a great source of fashion inspiration and regardless of ethnicity, cultural background or personality you should embrace the beauty therein to ensure you make your style more personal and meaningful. And believe me, there is nothing difficult about this fashion type, the trick is to subtly add it into your style as little or as much as your personality and fashion statement allows and remember African fashion is not just a trend – it is a timeless look that is here to stay.

By King Aguguo

King Aguguo is a local and international model, actor, and entrepreneur, lives in Maryland USA. He is passionate about fashion and it's accessories and therefore launched FASHIONTRENDSNEWS.ORG as a platform to inform, advise, and interact with his fans and the general public in making an informed decision with their fashion statement.

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