Africa

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Algeria avaAlgerian fashion is very unique. It was formed by the influence of three different civilizations: Arab, African, and Mediterranean. The geographical position of Algeria historically was the cause of culture mixing: meetings, trading, and exchanges between three worlds were common. No wonder, Algerian clothing traditions are so rich and diverse.

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Tswana avaBotswana is a country in Southern Africa that has rich and interesting clothing traditions. Many of them were formed under the influence of colonizers and missionaries who appeared in Botswana in 19-20th centuries. Today traditional Tswana outfit is a mix of Western-style or Victorian Era dresses with the pieces of clothing that are pure Tswana (for example, kaross – traditional blanket made from animal skins). Some costumes of ethnic minorities in Botswana also deserve special attention. We're talking about the Herero dress.

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Egyptian Couple avaWhen people hear a phrase “Egyptian traditional clothing”, they think about the attire of the Ancient Egypt. But actually, the folk dress used in modern Egypt differs much from the wrap-around garments that barely covered the bodies of ancient Egyptians. Since the 1500s, citizens of Egypt tend to cover their body parts thoroughly. Locals inherited a lot of features from the clothing fashion of Ottoman Turks, Europeans, and Muslim countries. But some tribes of Egypt are still keeping their own centuries-old tradition in clothes, e.g. the Bedouins and the Nubians.

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Ethiopian couple avaEthiopian people still wear their traditional clothes rather often. Older people and the citizens from the rural area use the folk dress every day. Though in large cities, Ethiopians prefer the western-style clothing, they also get their traditional costumes out of the closet during the festivals, weddings, and national celebrations. It’s not just because of clothing traditions and customs, but also the climate and weather conditions of Ethiopia. The folk costumes were designed to fit the peculiarities of this country perfectly, to give locals the protection from the vagaries of weather, and to make them feel comfortable.

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tie dye avaAfrican craftsmen work hard to make the most extraordinary dyed patterns on the fabric. The method is called “tie-dye”. The process itself is rather simple – you can even try to hand dye your clothes at home using this technique. But we’d like to show you how Africans originally tie-dye the cloth, leaving their traditional patterns on it. The act is mesmerizing.

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Ghanaian couple avaThe traditional costumes of Ghana are not just beautiful. The culture of this country and its ancient heritage influence the folk clothing much. That’s why the designs, fabrics, and patterns aren’t random. They are used by Ghanaians for a long period of time, and therefore, they carry the old knowledge and tradition. At the same time, the national outfit of Ghana looks so bright and festive that it brightens the mood of everyone around.

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Kenya avaKenya doesn't really have a national dress that characterizes traditions, ethnic tastes, culture and rituals of the whole country. Mostly that's because of more than 70 ethnic communities (Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kamba, Kalenjin, Masai etc.) who live in Kenya. They all have some unique traditions in clothing. Though some clothes and fabrics can be called traditional for Kenya. Let's have a look.

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Moroccan couple avaMorocco is a country with very rich traditions, a great ethnic diversity, and incredible views. But the clothing traditions of Morocco are even more diverse and colorful. While the traditional male clothing is rather simple and has little embellishments, the female garments are ornate, exquisite, and expensive. The folk dress of Morocco is traditionally made from the natural materials. The most interesting fact about the clothing traditions of Moroccans? A lot of women in this country wear hijab just because of the fashion.

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nigeria avaThe Federal Republic of Nigeria is a not very large, though rather populous country of West Africa. About 150 million of people live in Nigeria. So, the clothing traditions of its population are various. Some of the traditional dresses in Nigeria root back to ancients tribes who lived here centuries ago, others were formed by the influence of British, Portuguese and French colonizers (19-20th centuries). Today many people in Nigeria use modern clothes, western style of attire. But still there are a lot of Nigerians who prefer to wear the traditional dress of Nigeria in everyday life.

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somali-couple avaPeople of Somalia use their national costumes rather often. Unlike Europeans who take the traditional clothing out of the closet only for festivals and special occasions, Somalis use such garments in day-to-day life. Only in big cities people wear Western dress every day, but use traditional costumes for events and special occasions. As the climate in Somalia is hot, people cover most of the body from scorching sun and use natural materials to make clothing. They also wear loose garments (even men prefer skirt-like clothing) to prevent overheating.

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sudan avaSudan is a large African country with strong Islamic and Christian traditions. Religions and beliefs of local people have a great influence on the national clothing of Sudan. As climate conditions do. Those are the reasons for Sudanese people to wear loose-fitting long attires which cover most of the body. These dresses and robes are made of light natural fabrics. Sudanese people also cover their heads: women with scarves and men with turbans. Headgears serve both for religious purposes and for protection from the sun. Western-style dresses are also used in Sudan, but they're rarer than traditional ones.

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Tanzanian couple avaTanzanian clothing traditions speak of modesty, brightness, and ancient customs. For a European, the first impression from a folk dress of Tanzania sometimes is like “too much”. Too many layers of cloth wrapped helter-skelter around the body, too many colors and patterns, too many weird jewels, etc. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice the harmony and unicity of a Tanzanian folk costume. The locals feel absolutely comfortable wrapped in their colorful fabrics and beaded adornments.

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Tunisian costume avaFolk motifs in clothes is a fashionable trend in modern Tunisia. Both men and women wear outfits decorated with the traditional embroidery. But female dresses complemented with Tunisian traditional jewels are an extraordinary sight to behold. On the photos below, you can see modern and vintage Tunisian costumes, compare them, and admire the skills of local craftswomen.

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Jewelry avaTunisian traditional jewelry pieces are ornate, rather massive, and very beautiful. They are used not just to adorn the costume of a female but as a means of energetic protection, a way of honoring the ancient tradition, and for economic purposes as well. The jewelry collection of a Tunisian woman equals her private bank account. She’s able to manage it as she likes – buy, sell, barter, present or receive as a gift, etc. Vintage jewels are often transmitted within generations of the family. Modern Tunisian women still prefer the traditional jewelry items to ordinary ones used around the world.