African Style: Modern Fashion Look

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African clothing has seen a sudden shift over the past 50 years from a reliance on traditional styles to the incorporation of western wear in many countries. 

Clothing isn’t relegated to a one-way trading of cultures either; anyone can see African-influenced designs at their local department store stocked with Dashikis, kaftans, tie-dye and bright, colorful prints. 

Traditional African clothing has really taken hold in the fashion world over the past decade, and shows no signs of slowing down in popularity as more people discover the beauty of Africa’s clothing industry and designs.

What is the traditional African clothing?

Defining any certain item as a traditional African clothing item is impossible due to the vastness of the continent and the thousands of different cultures and peoples that live on the world’s largest continent. 

Women in Kenya still wear kangas and Jalabiyas are still seen in Egypt. One of the most popular clothing pieces, dashikis have a long history in Western culture. First introduced to the western world in the 1960s, dashikis are colorful, loose-fitting pullover shirts that can be worn by men or women. 

Unfortunately, in the late 1960s, American retailers shunned African imports, instead opting for cheaper, low-quality clothing made in India, Bangladesh and Thailand. Dashikis hold a strong cultural meaning in America today, frequently worn during celebrations or during holidays like Kwanzaa to celebrate African heritage. 

While dashikis were commonly worn with sokotos, a drawstring pant, today they are most often paired with jeans.

From traditional to modern

Today, African clothing has undergone a modern makeover with traditional prints being incorporated into modern cuts and styles. In Africa, it is common to see people wearing traditional items like kaftans, dashikis, gomesis, agbabas, kanzus, kangas, chitengis and a variety of flowing dresses. However, western influences have made people combine traditional clothing pieces with western clothing items like t-shirts and jeans. 

For example, in Zimbabwe, many women have taken to wearing their chitengis with western-style dresses for a modern look that still has elements of their culture. There are a number of arguments on whether western clothing is helping or hindering the African clothing industry. 

Some argue that African culture is being erased, with many textile and clothing manufacturers finding a decrease in business or being forced to close. Others argue that western clothing is more affordable and point out how clothing prices have severely decreased and a gargantuan amount of new jobs have opened up, with 50,000 people alone being employed in one market in Kamapa, Uganda. 

Regardless of where one stands in the debate, it cannot be denied that African clothing is having a resurgence in western markets among people of all races, leading to more manufacturers creating traditional African prints that are always popular and stylish. 

D’Iyanu, which combines the French “D” and Nigerian “Iyanu” to create “of or from something wonderful,” offers a plethora of modern African print dresses in bright, colorful patterns to allow consumers the ability to choose a design that reflects their culture in easy to wear styles that are sure to turn heads. 

Whether one is looking for a more traditional maxi dress or cute bodycon wear for a night out, customers are sure to turn heads at an affordable price. 

From dresses to shirts for all genders

African clothing is remarkably versatile. As pointed out above, it’s not uncommon for both men and women to wear dashikis, especially in western culture. 

Designers at D’Iyanu are proud to create clothing that effortlessly blends western and African cultures to allow customers an array of options that reflect African heritage in a sustainable, affordable way. 

Creating clothing for people of all genders, D’Iyanu is leading the industry by celebrating Africa in their attention to detail and the quality of their items. Men, women and children are sure to find the perfect clothing at the perfect price thanks to D’Iyanu’s goal of making sure every clothing item is beautiful and affordable.

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