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.


Click here for more selections of Kente Designs and Fabrics.


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

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




Brand New African Clothing Outlet Store in Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn, New York, Aug 11, 2012  1:00 p.m.EST – The outlet store you have been waiting for is finally here. Authentic African clothing and accessories, fabrics and more at your disposal. People looking to have a unique ethnic look around the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area and neighboring states now have a nearby location to shop for unique African attire. If you are also visiting New York, we would love to have you stop by our outlet store. At this outlet, you can get familiar with outfits you see on our website. You do not have to go shopping for fabrics and seamstresses/tailors anymore if you need an outfit or casual wear. We have done all this for you. We offer unique outfits with high quality fabrics and intricate designs at our outlet store.

For a wider selection, visit us online at Delivery takes an average of 3 days within the United States and 10 days outside the United States. We also have expedited shipping options available at checkout. We restock or add new items to our inventory every couple of days.

The outlet is located at 864 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn NY 11225. It is between President Street  and Union Street. It is serviced by the 2 train. The main road through this neighborhood is Eastern Parkway, a tree-lined boulevard designed by Frederick Law Olmsted extending 2 miles east-west.

Dupsie’s outlet store offers ethnic clothing shoppers sophisticated and high quality designs from Skirt Sets, Wrapper sets, Head wraps, caftans, Dashikis, hats, Grand boubous, shirts, Aso Oke, Geles, casual attire and more.

Come visit us today to have a great shopping experience.

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Gele (African Headtie)


“Gele” pronounced gaye lay, is an African head wrap/head-tie that has its roots in the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, West Africa.

Types of Gele From Left to Right : Patterned Aso Oke Crowntex (Super Net) Gele,  Crowntex (Super Net) Gele (plain), Paper-Like Head-tie Gele, Brocade Gele, Silk Aso-Oke Gele with Fringes

Types of Gele From Left to Right : Patterned Aso Oke Crowntex (Super Net) Gele, Crowntex (Super Net) Gele (plain), Paper-Like Head-tie Gele, African Print Gele, Brocade Gele, Silk Aso-Oke Gele with Fringes


A Gele is a flat piece of fabric (typically Aso Oke (Jean-like fabric), Brocade (Starched Cotton fabric), African Print, Paper-like fabric with plain or bold patterns (Sego, Jubilee, and more are some brand names of the paper-like fabric), Damask (heavily patterned Paper-like, Velvet-like fabric) and so on) wrapped by hand to form a hat.

Geles are worn by African Women to complement their African Attire. A Gele is usually the highlight of an appearance. A nicely tied Gele can compensate for a not so great looking outfit. A Gele is categorized as a clothing accessory amongst African Women.

According to the Yoruba tradition, the way a Gele is tied can indicate a woman’s marital status. A Gele’s end leaning to the right indicates a Woman is married and a Gele’s end leaning to the left indicates a Woman is Single. However, in society today, especially in the Urban areas, there is no defined indication of a Woman’s marital status by the way she ties her Gele. African Women can be very particular on how they want their Gele tied. Some like them tied in levels to stand really high while some like them tied in a more conservative way.

Geles are indeed very beautiful and fascinating when tied. Geles have gotten the attention of millions of people in different countries around the world from Africa to Europe, from Europe to North America, South America and all over the world. Many non-Africans wear Geles as a sign of reverence when attending African events, some as a part of their everyday wear and some that have gotten a soft spot for the Yoruba Culture. A Gele’s length can range from 8″ wide and 54″ Long (African Print) to 34″ wide and 72″ Long (Gele Paper-like Head-tie) to 20″ wide and 80″ long (Aso-Oke) and more.

Patterned Aso Oke

It is very common for people to refer to the Paper-like head-tie as Gele. Click here to get a Gele today. Click here to get Aso Oke.

Learn how to Tie a Gele below:

Learn how to Tie an Aso Oke below:

Brocade head wraps and African Print head wraps have almost the same texture. The following videos can be used to tie either an African Print head wrap or a Brocade head wrap. Here are three different ways you can tie your African Print/Brocade head wrap:






African Wrapper (Wraps/Lapa/Iro/Kitenge)

Some types of African Wrappers at Dupsie's

African wrappers are relatively long and wide pieces of fabric wrapped around the waist or chest. Some also wrap them around the neck. They can be worn either to formal occasions or casual events. Depending on what country you are in Africa, the terminology may be different. Kitenge in kenya, Iro/Wrapper in Nigeria, Lapa in Liberia and more.  African wrappers come in different fabrics. They come in:

Brocade – Brocade is a 100 % cotton fabric with patterns in the fabric. They usually come starched and have a sheen.

African Print – African Print fabrics are mostly 100% cotton. The fabrics can range from Bold designs/patterns to simple patterns. There are also several textures of African Print: Wax, Super Wax, Tie Dye, Batik and more. African print fabrics have found their way into fashion houses to make dresses, ties, pants, shirts and more. They are also often used for decor.

Aso Oke – Aso Oke, pronunced, Ah-Shaw-Okay, Aso “clothing” , Oke “Elite” Aso Oke is a jean like material. It is a hand made fabric. It is woven on a loom with both hands and feet using generally silk and Net threads. There are several other types of threads used to make Aso Oke. For instance, Damask Aso Oke is made with a mixture of several types of threads. Damask Aso Oke is commonly used at Weddings or very special events. Aso Oke Wrappers are common amongst the Yorubas, one of the major tribes in Nigeria.

Lace – is a heavily patterned (embroidered) fabric sometimes with open holes made by hand or machine. They very often have rhinestones (glittery stones) or Sequins (Glittery circular discs tied together with strings. The background of the Lace fabrics can be Voile (100% cotton, soft feel), Organza (silk like but a little more stiff), Poly-Voile (relatively rough fabric), Net and more.This fabric is common amongst Nigerians (Nigeria is a country in West Africa)

George – is a fabric with patterns in intervals. The fabric is mostly plain. This fabric is common amongst the Igbo Tribe in Nigeria.

Kente – Kente is a handwoven material. The process is very similar to the process of making Aso Oke. It is know as Nwentoma in Ghana. Kente is a popular traditional cloth made in Ghana with Silk and cotton threads. It is very common amongst the Ewe people of Ghana. Kente Cloth is worn at times of extreme importance in Ghana. Kente Print is an imitation of Kente Cloth and is much cheaper.

There are several other types of African Wrappers not mentioned in this article. However, many of the types of wrappers not listed above fall into one of the first four categories above.

African wrappers are also very often used to secure infants at the back of adults.The wrapper is tied over the back of the infant and around the chest of the adult and secured by folding the ends of the wrapper that overlaps over the chest of the adult.

African Wrappers are very common across rural areas as well as urban areas in Africa.

Click here to see some more African Wrappers

Take a look at the video below. It shows you a couple of ways on how to tie an African Wrapper.

African Clothing

African clothing and African attire have come a long way. There is a wide array of various different African clothing and these come in different styles, colors, design and materials. There are clothing for women, clothing for men as well as suitable clothing for kids. The clothing are designed to suit various occasions and functions, such as formal wear for formal occasions, casual everyday wear and even exotic African wear. There are plenty of accessories as well, such as head wraps (Gele), belts, caps, hats, African shoes, bangles, bags and many more.

There are a good number of able, respected and experienced African wear designers. They have learnt to blend traditional African attire with modern trends and materials. Most African designers use traditional African prints, designs, batiks, patterns and many others. Most of these were usually hand sewn without the use of modern machines to put them together. However, modern African clothing often use modern machines and designs to come up with the attire. Designers of official, authentic African wear are now attending design schools in order to develop and generate even better quality clothing.

When looking for suitable African attire, it is best to consult some of the renowned names in the industry. It is also good and advisable to search for authentic African wear for certain occasions. Most customers around the world love African attire for general and official functions. Others love African attire for their elaborate weddings with exquisite African clothing designs for bridal parties (Aso Ebi)

. African Clothing features prominently at African Weddings, not just in Africa but across various African communities around the world. Weddings are usually great social events and are a major forum for display of fashion, accessories and great clothing designs. There are also great African jewelry that adorn African wear. African jewelry has vast origins, with the jewelry originating from most parts of Africa. Fashion may also vary from the East to the West, north and south.

Couples or families that intend to host an African wedding may benefit from using great, modern African wear for the occasion. The entire ceremony may come with an African theme. This may be expressed in the food, decor, style and theme of the entire wedding. There are African clothing consultants and African fashion designers who can provide invaluable advice to the interested parties. Official African events, especially overseas but on the continent as well, can be graced by an unofficial African wear that attendants can wear. Attendants can choose varying African clothing for various occasions.