When it comes to picking from a pool of African prints and patterns, the choices are endless. From Kente in Ghana to Adire in Nigeria, there is beauty and colour of every spectrum.
These pieces are, of course, studied and taken into consideration when clothing styles are being selected as one must make sure the fabric is used in the best way.
Still, while you pick styles for your fashion piece using African fabrics, how much of the history behind them do you know?
Unlike usual commercial fabrics, African prints and patterns are elements of history and help preserve culture. They were used to send messages and acknowledge social standing.
All over the continent, various tribes had their uniqueness engraved in their fabrics. Let us take a short trip round some of them.
In Mali, the hand-printed cloths called Bogolanfini or mud cloth originated. Each cloth had arrangements of symbols revealing something secret about its intended meaning.
The language of the cloth was passed down from mother to daughter along with specific motifs.
In Uganda, Barkcloth was being crafted by the Baganda people during the 15th century. Barkcloth was one of the first fabrics made by mankind; using an ancient technique that predates the invention of weaving.
Barkcloth is harvested from the locally grown Mutaba tree without bringing harm to the tree.
In Nigeria, Adire originated from the Southwestern region. The technique was first applied to indigo-dyed cloth decorated with resist-patterns.
The symbols represented on the cloth created and standardized aspects of the people’s culture, drawn from history, legends, myths, proverbs, folklores, and deep observation of their environment.
Finally, Ghana is the home of the majestic Kente. The visual presentations printed on the fabrics represent various political messages communicated by colors, symbols, and how the fashion is worn.
Kente cloth was also a way to identify a person’s origin and status.
Today, African prints and patterns have evolved into global political statements but away from the seriousness, no-one can ignore their beauty.
At Ozoza lifestyle, our pieces are made with the best African prints and patterns, with love from the continent. Shop our collections here.