A while back, we looked at the meanings of popular African prints and their countries of origin. Today, let’s explore the colours on these fabrics and what they mean for you, the wearer.
When we look at the colour of clothes sometimes, it is to see if they would look good with our skin tones, eyes or will fit the style intended. How often do you wear colours just because of what they represent?
Colour has always been very important in African fashion. Wearing the wrong colour to an occasion could send a different, negative message. It was important to pick the right colour before one stepped out of the house. But what are the colour options?
African fabrics generally come in any colour now but there are specific historical colours. These are black, blue, maroon, purple, pink, red, gold, yellow, green, grey, silver and white.
Here’s what they mean:
Black: spiritual energy and maturity, as well as funeral rites and mourning.
Blue: love, harmony, togetherness and peace.
Maroon: healing, plus the colour of Mother Earth.
Purple: normally worn by women, associated with femininity.
Pink: also represents feminine qualities, including mildness.
Red: sacrificial rites, bloodshed and death, but also spiritual and political moods.
Gold: wealth in a number of forms, namely high status, monetary wealth and royalty, but also fertility and spiritual purity.
Yellow: similar to the attributes associated with gold, but also including beauty and preciousness.
Green: growth – both spiritual growth, and also relating to the land, harvest, vegetation and crops.
Grey: symbolises ash, as well as cleansing and healing rituals.
Silver: associated with the moon, as well as peace, purity and joy.
White: festive occasion, cleansing rites and pureness.
What do these colours mean for you? When next you don an African fabric, you can pick with a little more background knowledge and brighten your day with a colour that speaks deeper to you.