African-Beads-ileke

African-beads-Ileke

African Beads is a very significant formal wear accessory. African Beads are worn by both women and Men depending on the design of the beads. African Beads vary in size, length, color, texture, shape, and more. African Beads are very Regal when worn. They complete that elegant look.

African Beads have several terminologies. “ileke“, is one of those terminologies, originating from the Yoruba tribe in the Southern Region of Nigeria, in West Africa.

Some African Beads are unisex and can be worn either by a man or a woman as shown below:

African-beads-Unisex-Ileke

African-Beads-Unisex-Ileke

Typically, the Beads set (Necklace and Bracelet) shown above are the beads men will typically wear. However, it not typical for men to wear either the Bracelet or the Necklace.

Women have a much wider selection of African Beads. Some are linked with Gold balls for a more unique design. Some ladies beads come in a 4pc Set – a necklace, bracelet and a pair of earrings.

African Beads with Gold Patterns

African Beads with Gold Patterns

 

Elegant Gold African Beads Set

Elegant Gold African Beads Set

African Bead Set

Gorgeous Silver African Beads

Gorgeous Silver African Beads

African Broken Coral Beads

African Broken Coral Beads

Coral Beads are significantly more popular than other types of African Beads. They are typically in variations of Red or Peach.

African Beads vary in price, depending on the type of beads and the design.

African Beads are worn by several tribes in several countries, some depicting elders in a society, some depicting beauty and several other depictions.

Some tribes make beads into a Crowns during celebrations (typically wedding celebrations). This is typical with people in the Eastern part of Nigeria

Gorgeous African Beads Crown

Gorgeous African Beads Crown

African Beads have been in existence for many years and would continue to be part of the African Culture.

Click here to purchase some African Beads. Enjoy more pictures of African Beads below:

African-Beads-10 African-Beads-11 African-Beads-12 African-Beads-13 African-Beads-14 African-Beads-15 African-Beads-16 African-Beads-17 African-Beads-18 African-Beads-19 African-Beads-20 African-Beads-21 African-Beads-22 African-Beads-23 African-Beads-24 African-Beads-25 African-Beads-26 African-Beads-27 African-Beads-28 African-Beads-29 African-Beads-30 African-Beads-31 Ileke-1 Ileke-2 Ileke-3 Ileke-4 Ileke-5 Ileke-6

 

 

Kente

Kente Designs

Kente Designs

Of all the African textiles, Kente (“KEN-tay”) is arguably the best known and most renowned of all cloths. It is most popularly Known as the icon of African heritage around the globe and can be defined by it’s bold designs, bright colors, multi colored patterns and dazzling shapes.

Kente made from African silk comes from the Ashanti (Akan) word (Kenten) which means basket, because it features a woven look as that of a woven basket and is also inspired by a spiders web. Kente dates back 375 years ago and originated in the Ashanti Kingdom of Ghana and was solely intended to be worn only by the kings, Queens and the chiefs. The royals would notably wear their bright colored Kente cloth to festivals and other important engagements. However over time Kente found it’s way among the Ivory coast and many other West African countries.

Something that most people may not know is that the many geometric patterns featured on the Kente cloth each have specific meanings relating to the history or beliefs of the Ashanti people. Each pattern & design although colorful and rich on the outside is meant to say something about heritage, family, and culture. The designs and color combinations help portray a number of different concepts, such as democratic rule, creativity, life experience of the wearer, religious philosophies and family lines. Kente fabrics thus are not just a way of making a statement about today, but also are a valuable way of maintaining continuity with the collected wisdom of the past, both from personal experience and community experience and history.

Here are some meanings to the colors used within the Kente:

Black — Maturity, intensified spiritual energy

Blue — Peacefulness, harmony and love

Green — Vegetation, planting, harvesting, growth, spiritual renewal

Gold — Royalty, wealth, high status, glory, spiritual purity

Grey — Healing and cleansing rituals; associated with ash

Maroon — The color of mother earth; associated with healing

Pink — Associated with the female essence of life; a mild, gentle aspect of red

Purple — Assoc. with feminine aspects of life; usually worn by women

Red — Political and spiritual moods; bloodshed; sacrificial rites and death

Silver — Serenity, purity, joy; assoc. with the moon

White — Purification, sanctification rites and festive occasions

Yellow — Preciousness, royalty, wealth, fertility

Here are some of the Kente Patterns described:

(Niata – Two-edged sword)
(Ohene Anewa – The king’s eye, The king sees everything)
(Nkyimkyim – Zigzag, Life is not a straight path)
(Afa – I have taken it)

With the evolution of Kente since it was first produced, people around the world are beginning to embrace it; from presidents, to celebrities and more. Kente cloth is now infused on the fashion runways of Paris, Milan, New York and more in the form of dresses, shoes, shirts, pants, bags, accessories and so much more.

More than ever Kente cloth, whether it is faux kente or the Kente-Cloth; it has seen it’s rise in pop culture and can be seen worn on a bevy of celebrities.

Notable People & Celebrities in Kente cloth as well as recent mainstream Kente fashion designs below:

 (Former U.S President Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary Clinton sporting their Kente cloth in 1998 on their visit to Ghana. They are standing by Ghana’s former president Jerry Rawlings at Accra’s Independence Square)
(Solange Knowles rocks some Kente before a red carpet appearance)
 
(Singer Elle Varner is bold in her colorful and bright Kente)

 

(An Adidas Kente designed sneaker shoe by designer Jeremy Scott)
Kente worn by a royal Below:
(Regal Kente worn in 1930 by Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II as he sits on his golden stool)

 

There has definitely been many changes to the Kente cloth itself over the past few centuries. In early years, all of the thread used to produce Kente was made from silk. Today, cloth is made from rayon, cotton, and silk, making it affordable for a greater number of people. New patterns with new meanings are constantly being designed, but many of the original patterns are still used in weaving. Although the use of Kente has become more widespread, its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem with Akans.

The particular place where Kente was conceived within the Ashanti Kingdom known as Bonwire; till this day is the most famous center for the Kente cloth weaving.

Kente-Designs

Click here for more selections of Kente Designs and Fabrics.

 

[Photo Credit] Circa, McNamee Reuters, Elle Varner, Solange Knowles, Jeremy Scott

African Jewelry

Fulani-Woman

Fulani-Woman

African Jewelry has gained popularity over the years. African Jewelry comes in many shapes and forms; from wood, to metal, to plastic, to shells and more. African Jewelry ranges from necklaces, to earrings, to hand/leg bracelets, to rings, to head Jewelry, and many more. African Jewelry ranges from very vibrant to earth tone colors. African Jewelry can be worn with both contemporary clothing and traditional clothing. African Jewelry is very elegant and unique. Most western jewelry is inspired by African Jewelry. African Jewelry ranges from small pieces to very large pieces.

African-Necklace

African-Necklace

African necklaces typically come with screw in ends or hooks to secure the bracelet around the neck. African bracelets also use this mechanism.

African-Beads

African-Beads

Some African Jewelry pieces come in sets as seen above. The African Jewelry set above is made out of African Beads and includes a Necklace, a pair of earrings and a bracelet. This is typically more dressy compared to other African Jewelry. African Bead sets can be worn to weddings, celebrations, religious occasions and many other formal events.

 

African-Fulani-Ankle-Bracelet

African-Fulani-Ankle-Bracelet

Ankle bracelets are typically worn during performances. Ankle bracelets can also be worn casually and to special occasions as well.

African-Wedding-Jewelry

African-Wedding-Jewelry

Above are beads typically worn at weddings and very special occasions.Some African Beads are unisex while some are strictly for men and some for women.

African Elder wearing African Beads

African Elder Clothing with African Beads

African Beads are also worn by elders in communities often signifying leadership roles in their communities.

African Jewelry can also be made with Cowry-Shell designs. Some African earrings, bracelets and necklaces can also made with African Print fabrics, Below are several types of African Jewelry.

African Leather Neck Purse African Leather Neck Wallet AFRICAN NECKLACE African Shell Bracelet African Shell Earrings African Wood Bangle African-Ankle-bracelet- African-Ring- DP0915AJ DPJ041A DPJ044C DPJ048 DPJ0049 DPJ064 DPJ068 DPJ071 DPJ072 DPJ073 DPJ074 DPJ076 DPJ077 DPJ078 DPJ079 DPJ080 DPJ081 DPJ082 DPJ083 DPJ084 DPJ085 DPJ086 DPJ087 DPJ102 DPJ104 DPJ122 DPJ124 DPJ125 DPJ127 DPJ131 DPJ132 DPJ133 DPJ134 DPJ135 DPJ138 DPJ140 DPJ141 DPJ143 DPJ146 DPJ147 DPJ148 DPJ151 DPJ152 DPJ153 DPJ154 DPJ155 DPJ157 DPJ158 DPJ161 DPJ162 DPJ164 DPJ168 DPJ169 DPJ172 DPJ173 DPJ174 DPJ175 DPJ180 DPJ181 DPJ182 DPJ186 DPJ190 DPJ191 DPJ202 DPJ203 DPJ205 DPJ206 DPJ207 DPJ208 DPJ211 DPJ212 DPJ213 DPJ214 DPJ215 DPJ0501 DPJ0511 DPJ0521 DPJ0541 DPJ0551 DPJ0561 DPJ0581 DPJ0601 DPJ0631 DPJ0671 DPJ0751 FULANI BANGLE Snail shell earrings

Click here for a selection of African Jewelry available for purchase. Click here for African Beads for Ladies.

 

African Sandals

African-Sandals

As we all know, footwear plays a very significant role in the fashion industry today. Many strive for comfort and convenience for their casual wear. People tend to gravitate towards open toe sandals, flip-flops and other comfortable footwear. Sandals are a favorite by many compared to flip-flops because with a mere strap on top of your heels, your appearance can change from very informal to casual and in some cases formal depending on the type of sandals. You also get to reduce the constant noise from flip-flops slapping your heels as you walk. Sandals also tend to reduce dirt from splashing on your clothing or legs when walking through wet or muddy areas because of the close proximity of the base of the sandals to your heels when walking. Sandals are very popular in Africa because of the warm climate.

African Sandals are generally hand-made. Some African Sandals are made out of car tires, cows and many other sources. African Sandals come in many colors, designs, shapes and forms. African Sandals are mostly comfortable, easy to wear and unique.

Brown African Leather Sandals

Brown African Leather Sandals

African sandals can complement either formal wear or casual wear. African sandals are adjustable. They most often come with buckles with buckle pin holes for the right firm fit. Some African sandals also come with Velcro. African Sandals range from simple designs to very intricate designs. Some African sandals are fully made out of rubber making them waterproof. African sandals made out of genuine leather tend to be more durable than those made with other materials. Some African sandals are padded for a better comfort but are mostly made without pads.

Some African Sandals are covered with African Print as seen below:

African Sandals with African Print

African Sandals with African Print

African Sandals with African print are becoming a sensation these days and are gaining popularity amongst our youth, fashionistas, designers, and more. Another popular print used to make African sandals is Kente. Kente is a print customary to people from Ghana, a country in West Africa.

Designers of African Sandals are very creative. Just when you think the creativity cannot be better, they come up with some breath-taking designs. African sandals are worn all over Africa, from West to East and from North to South. African Sandals has made its way into the western world and is now worn all over the world.

Click here for more African Sandals

 

Black History Month

Some of many important people in Black History

Some of many important people in Black History

Black History Month is a month celebrated in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada commemorating people with significant achievements as well as events in the history of the African Diaspora.

Black History Month is also referred to as African-American History Month, Black month, Black Heritage Month, Black Culture Month and many more.

Abraham Lincoln played a huge role in the abolition of slavery by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Black History Month stemmed from the progress made after the abolition of slavery.

Carter Woodson and Rev. Jesse E. Moorland are pioneers of Black History Month in the United States. Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, Donald Oliver, and Jean Augustine also made contributions to the wide recognition of Black History Month in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Black History Month is celebrated in the United States, Germany and Canada in February and in the United Kingdom, in October. It is typical for people celebrating Black History Month to do so in African Clothing. Dashiki Shirts, Caftans, African Print wears, Brocade apparels are some Popular African Clothing worn during Black History Month celebrations. Children are also involved in Black History Month celebrations.

African Clothing is worn even outside of Black History Month because of the vibrant colors, intricate designs and more.  African Clothing is generally comfortable, unique and elegant. Click here to see some Authentic Black History Month Clothing.

Black History Month celebrations are popular with Dance Groups, Religious institutions, Educational institutions, and many more. Black History Month is also celebrated by well wishers from other races.

Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Bessie Smith are some names of African-Americans celebrated during Black History Month as they are activists that pushed for equality for African-Americans in the United States. There are many other African-Americans celebrated during Black History Month in the areas of sports, entertainment, science and many more.

Black History is always going to be very important in American History.

 

Kufi

Brown and Chocolate Brown Kufi
Gentleman wearing a Gold and Chocolate Brown Aso Oke Fila Kufi

A Kufi is a short or long cap worn widely in Africa. Kufis are generally worn by men. Kufis come different shapes, sizes and forms. The most popular kufis are round in shape. Kufis are worn by Christians, Muslims, and Traditional worshipers. There are several traditional names for African hats. Fila, Armadillo, okpu agu, Krofofrom, Fez, Senator, Awolowo, Abeti-Aja, fula, kofia  are a few of those traditional names. Kufi’s are very popular in West Africa because of its preserved traditional heritage. In many countries in West Africa, a kufi is considered to be part of a garment. Kufis can be worn casually as well as to special occasions. Kufis can be very regal depending on how they are worn and how much they complement an outfit. A hat is not mandatory when wearing African garments. African Clothing can be worn without a hat.

Okpu_Agu_Igbo_Cap

Okpu Agu Igbo Knitted Cap

Igbo Cap

Igbo Cap

Typically, Muslims wear a hat when praying. However, it is not mandatory. They believe it is a sign of humility and respect. Christians on the other hand typically do not wear hats during prayer. They believe it is a sign of humility and respect. Traditional worshipers take a more individualistic approach as to either wearing a hat or not.

Hausa Hat

Hausa Hat

Cultures or tribes can many times be distinguished by the style or shape of a hat or both. A person’s religion or status (elder in a community, chief, ….) can sometimes be determined by what type of Kufi they wear. Typically people wear kufis to show their pride in their religion, culture, history, region and so on.

Black Velvet Kufi.

Black Velvet Kufi.

Kufis can be made of Brocade (cotton), Mud Cloth, Kente, Aso Oke, African Print, Linen, Hayes (paper-like material), Damask, Velvet, Leather and many other fabrics. Kufis can also be crocheted or Knitted.

Ghanaian_kufi

The Yoruba Tribe in Nigeria refer to their hats as “fila” The hats are similar to chef hats in their full form. However, they are folded to the right side to form a style similar to a military beret.

Olive Green and Beige Aso Oke Fila Kufi

Olive Green and Beige Aso Oke Fila Kufi

They also have a hat referred to as “Abeti Aja“, meaning like the ears of a dog. This hat is worn by elders in a community, by a groom in a traditional wedding, or for very special occasions.

African Print Abeti Aja Kufi Cap

African Print Abeti Aja Kufi Cap

Kufi hats have become very popular in the African-American culture during Black heritage celebrations like Black History Month,and Kwanzaa. Kufi hats are also common with Afrocentric people for casual or everyday wear. Kufi caps can be worn by women and men depending on the shape and style. Some kufi caps are unisex.

Kente Kufi

Kente Kufi

The following link has a variety of Kufi caps. Click here to get one.

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is here again!

Just in case you are wondering what Kwanzaa is or where the name Kwanzaa came from, below is some information about Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa came from the Swahili (Common East African Language) string of words matunda ya kwanza which means “first fruits”. Maulana Karenga (RonaldEverett), a professor or African studies in the 1960s created and publicized Kwanzaa in an effort to dedicate a period in which Black heritage would be celebrated. Kwanzaa according to Professor Karenga has seven core principles also known as Nguzo Saba. The principles are:

Self-Determination, Unity, Purpose, Creativity, Faith, Responsibility and Collective Work, and Cooperative Economics.

Kwanzaa is celebrated for a week long. It is celebrated from the 26th of December until the 1st of January. kwanzaa is widely celebrated in the United States, Canada and some West African countries.

Kwanzaa colors are Red, Black and Green.

Generally African-Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa also celebrate Christmas.

Click here to view some African Clothing that may be suitable for Kwanzaa events.

 

Dashiki

Dashiki, also known as “Danchiki” by the Hausas, pronounced dan-she-key is a loose-fitting shirt or tailored shirt, (often V-shaped) often with elaborate or simple embroidery patterns around the neck, chest, and sleeve lines. The shapes of the neckline may also vary. Some Dashikis come with closed necklines, some V-neck lines, square-neck lines, and many other shapes and forms. Dashikis are widely worn in West Africa. However, over the years it has gained popularity in other parts of Africa.

Dashikis come in different patterns and designs. However, the basic look is preserved. Dashikis may include a few traditional buttons, a clip button, Velcro, or a hook and eye closure to secure the neckline.

Dashikis are generally made out of African print, Brocade, Lace, Silk, Suiting, or Cotton fabrics.

African Print Dashiki:

Brocade Dashiki:

Lace Dashiki:

Dashiki in Suiting Fabric:

Hand Painted Cotton Dashiki:

Dashikis can be worn by men or women depending on the cut and the style of the Dashiki. Dashikis are also worn by children.Dashikis can be casual or dressy.

It is not uncommon to see Dashikis with embroidered symbols. Adinkra symbols, created by the Gyamans in Cote d’Ivoire (ivory coast) and the Akan of Akanland are a common type of symbol found on Dashikis.

A Black Dashiki is appropriate to wear to a funeral in Nigeria unless otherwise stated. Many West African cultures adopt this convention as well. In Ghana, Red is worn by the immediate family and Black by friends. Black is worn to mourn the death of young people. White with a touch of Black is worn when the deceased lived a long life. Black Dashikis can also be worn to celebrations, weddings, religious occasions, special events, casual events and more. Black Dashikis/Clothing are not only worn to funerals.

Purple and Gold is generally a celebratory combination of colors in many African cultures. The combination is considered regal and can be worn to weddings, special events, and more. White and Gold is another popular combination for weddings, birth ceremonies, religious events and more.There are other popular combinations — Brown and Gold, Blue and Silver and many other combinations.

All shades of colors are generally worn all year round in Africa contrary to the perception of wearing certain colors of Dashikis during particular seasons. Colors range from Gold, Black, Purple, Pink, Lime Green, Dark Green, Yellow, Blue, white, red and more. These colors are worn by Women, Men and children irrespective of the Hue.

There are several types of Dashikis. Dashikis can be worn with pants (typically draw string pants). This style is typically known as Old school by the Yorubas, a tribe in Nigeria, West Africa.

Dashikis could be above knee length coupled with draw string pants, often referred to as Senegalese

Dashikis could also consist of a Top, pants and a Robe, widely referred to as Agbada, Babariga, Joromi, Grand boubou and more

Dashikis made its way to the American market during the African-American political and cultural struggles in the 1960s. A good number of African-American icons began to wear Dashikis in place of western suits and ties to depict a sense of pride in their African Heritage. Dashikis found its way to cinemas, movies, plays, events, communities and more. The Dashiki fashion was perceived by society to be different in that, it was loose fitting, could be worn tucked out of pants, the colors were often vibrant, the style was very different from conventional clothing at the time and more.

Dashikis have evolved over the years. While the original styles are still widely worn, there are many contemporary styles that are getting a lot of steam in Africa as well as in the western world. Dashikis have been incorporated in many African-American communities for special events, religious occasions, and casual events. Dashikis and other forms of African Clothing are worn by hundreds of thousands of people across the United States during African-American celebrations. Black history month is one of those celebrations. It is celebrated in the month of February by African-Americans and well wishers commemorating African heritage. Black history month is also celebrated in other countries. Canada and the United Kingdom are some of those countries. Black history month may vary depending on the country where it is being celebrated. Kwanzaa is another celebration. Kwanzaa is observed from December 26th to January 1st. It is a celebration observed by the United States and Canada celebrating African-American African-Canadian culture and heritage.

Dashikis shirts can also be worn casually. They can be worn with a pair of jeans, linen pants and more. Dashikis can be worn with or without a hat.

For a wide selection of Dashikis, please click here

 

African Prints

Genuine African prints are generally 100% cotton. They are worn across the continent of Africa, most especially, in West Africa. Tie-Dye is generally believed to be one of the earliest forms of African print. Tie-Dye is a process of tying and dyeing clothing or fabrics (usually cotton) to give distinctive patterns. The Fabric or Clothing is tied (typically with strings) in sections to set boundaries for the dye. This in turn, yields a distinctive pattern.

 

There are also some other forms of Tie-Dye:

Kampala: A type of African Print Tie-Dye with a substantial amount of wax application. The fabric would appear to have a sheen at the end of production because of the wax application. Brocade (solid cotton fabric with patterns in fabric) fabrics are generally used when making Kampala designs.

Batik: Batik prints are also another form of tie dye also using wax application. The Fancy designs are hand painted (mostly applied with cassava paste, a chicken feather and a string of broom).

Indigo: Indigo dyed clothing, also known as Adire by the Yoruba tribe in Southern Nigeria.

There are several other forms of Tie Dye techniques.

With technology, African prints have evolved into more complex patterns. Several name brands have also evolved. Sunflag, Akosombo, Hollandis, Woodin are some of these African print name brands. Ankara, Abada, Kitenge, Wax print, are some other names for African Print. African prints are generally made into Tops and Wrappers in the rural areas in Africa.

There are several ways of wearing an African Print Wrapper. Typically, younger people gravitate towards the “Old School” style below when wearing an African print Wrapper.

And for Men, here is an African print Grand Boubou below. A Grand Boubou generally consists of a Dashiki, Pants and a Robe. It can be worn with a matching African print hat or a hat made out of a different material.

Below are some African print Dashiki tops and pants for Men

African prints are worn by Men, Women and Children. A whole family can also be dressed in the same print.

Matching African print skirts and tops are usually lined with a 100% cotton material. Many African print dresses are lined as well. Matching African print tops and wrappers (excluding Senegal and a few other African countries), Men’s African Print matching sets and children African print sets are generally not lined. African prints are generally not see through. Some African print patterns have some significance. However, most of them are abstract.

Modern day prints over the past few years have been picking up steam amongst both the young and the old. This is not surprising when you take into consideration the bold and intricate print patterns. Icons, especially in the Fashion, Music, and Film industry have been spotted wearing African print clothing. African prints can be made into dresses, tops, skirts, wrappers, and sets for women. It is also common to see women wear African print head wraps with African print Clothing as well as western clothing.

For a wider selection of African print clothing for Men, Women and Children as well as African print fabrics, click here