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Home Forums African Fashion THE ART OF AFRICAN FASHION. WHAT IS INVOLVED?

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    Jennifer Festus
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      Africans are very creative people and their creations are mostly symbolic; for instance, the protective hairstyles that are used to prevent our afro hairs from breakage and split ends were also used as a map for slaves that were escaping to freedom.

       

       

      According to the article (what was the most important type of art in ancient Africa)  written by Victor Patrick, textile creation is a type of art that is significant to ancient Africa. The materials used for our clothing have its significance and they have their different meanings and what they symbolize. It is safe to say fashion is art.

       

       

      The Bokolanfini is the mud cloth of the people of the Bamana of Mali. It is intricately decorated with designs painted on earth, it absorbs what is released, called the nyama during the girls’ initiation excision and it is worn for marriages and burials. Culturally, it serves as a cue to a broader reflection on life.

       

       

      The Ghanaians produce textiles like Kente, a hand-woven multicolored material. The clothes are traditionally wrapped around by men and women and there are slight differences in their clothes.

       

       

      The Yorubas produce Aso oke. It is an indigo-colored material that requires the hand-spun thread to be dyed up to 14 times to achieve the blue needed. Culturally, it is woven from cotton and imported or domestic silk. They are worn during major ceremonies.

       

       

      The Faso Dan Fani is produced by the Marka people. Faso Dan Fani translates to woven cloth of the motherland. It is woven from cotton, kapok, and tuntun wild silk. The thread is handspun, dyed, and woven on double heddle looms into striped cloth. The stripes of each cloth are woven to correspond to a proverb. Therefore, each cloth conveyed a message.

       

       

       

      The people of the Bukuba kingdom in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo weave the Kuba cloth from palm fibres. They were traditionally used for costumes and mats for royalty. They are usually enlarged with beaten bark and some are adorned with shells.

       

       

      The Kuba cloth inspired modern artists of the 20th century like Picasso and Matisse.

       

       

      The Adinkira was a fabric worn by African royalties, it is hand printed with stamps cut from the thick rind of the calabash. Each stamp has a meaning related to a proverb. It is worn by the Ashantis mainly for funerals but also for inaugurations and other royal occasions.

       

       

      Africa is filled with different styles of beautiful textiles from different tribes with different traditions, they could be used to convey a message, as a status symbol, or a cultural event but one thing that is common with all of them is that they are created solely with fashion in mind.

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