African Fashion

African Fashion

Though Africans have adopted several western culture and fashion, which is gradually leading to the replacement and extinction of the original style, the original African fashion remains something desired by many people who only have little knowledge of it. This is because it entails culture too. Talking about African culture, the best way to start will be to talk about clothing, which is different for different African tribes.

In the early years, the use of animal skins for clothing was the trending fashion. Both male and female use the animal skin in a different style. The women make use of it to cover only their private parts while other parts of the body remain visible. Some African tribes use black inks to make beautiful marks on the visible parts of the women body in place of the tattoo we have today. The advantage of this African style of drawing a tattoo is that it cannot cause any form of cancer to the body. The men in the tribe use the skin to make something small but large enough to tie around their waist while the other part of the body remains open with several marks on it. However, some African tribes do not make use of these marks. In the royal family, the fashion is a bit different. The male in the royal family uses long robs while the female always has some extra skin to put around their body along with the ones covering their private parts. Most hairs were left natural in this era because there was nothing to use in cutting them. Beard was the pride of men while the natural hair well packed was the pride of the women.


African culture kept changing gradually with the discovery of fantastic fashion material. Both men and women developed weaving skills and this was the evolution of fabric materials, which slowly began to replace animal skins. Weaving was first done using hand before weaving materials were developed. This brought into existence the woven cotton called Kente used by the Ghanaians, the Aso Oke, Agbada and Riga used by Nigerians, mud cloth of Mali, Kuba fabric of the Republic of Congo. These fabrics were used for making different styles such as up and down, iro ati buba, kaba, short skirt and blouse which are worn for various parties and occasions.


Beautification is an important part of fashion. The Africans use beads which some tribes referred to ileke to decorate the hair of women and the waist (the wait bead is called ibebe idi by the Yoruba’s in Nigeria and some other tribes in Africa) whenever there is a special occasion while they wear some on their neck, wrist, and leg. Men only wear them on their wrist and their neck. Nevertheless, it is essential to know that the beads in some cases are signs/symbols of royalty and not just mere fashion. The African makeup is different from what we see today. Ladies have their lips painted black while they use a paint called tiro by some tribes as eyes shadow to enhance the beauty of the female. This was the fashion before the use of white powder came into existence. The men do not go through several beautification processes before going out. They just put on the appropriate dress for the occasion, beads when necessary and walking stick in some cases. Some African tribes until date still use their fabrics as just wrappers to cover the body for events and not as any specially designed style. The Ghanaians, Congo and some tribes such as the Benin in Nigeria still do it until date.



Mercy J, a native Nigerian and a reputable and passionate writer. Mercy loves to write especially when it comes to things relating to her country. Mercy also does writing of all other kinds of subjects, and she also loves coming up with something unique and this makes her very good at creative thinking.

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