African folk culture is represented by plenty of interesting traditional garments – not only loin-cloths and jewels, as many people think. There are different techniques of fabric making, clothing crafts, and ancient-old designs of the traditional outfits. Let’s look at these top-10 most extravagant and stylish African garments from various corners of the country and learn something new about this unique continent.
African clothing style is very vast and unique and every region has its own special materials, styles, and designs. In this article, we’d like to show you the coolest and most interesting African folk garments.
#10 Shweshwe (Southern Africa)
This is a printed, dyed cotton fabric, widely used in traditional South African dressmaking.
#9 Kente / Nwentom (Western Africa)
This is a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips and native to the people of Akan in the South of Ghana.
#8 Umbaco / Xhosa dress (Southern Africa)
These are skirts and dresses that are typically decorated with beads, mostly worn by the Xhosa people of South Africa.
# 7 Aso Oke (Western Africa)
Aso oke is the handloom cloth, woven but the Yoruba people in Western Nigeria and used to make the agbada (African male flowing wide-sleeved robe), iro (Yoruba wrap-around skirt), and fila (Yoruba men’s hats).
# 6 Dishdasha / Kanzu (Northern Africa)
This is an ankle-length garment – usually with long sleeves – similar to a robe or tunic. It is commonly worn in the Northern African regions or Muslim African countries.
# 5 Grand Boubou (Western Africa)
This is a long, colorful, loose-fitting garment, worn by both sexes in many parts of West Africa.
# 4 Kikoy / Leso (Eastern Africa)
This is traditionally a piece of rectangular woven clothing, originating from the east-coast parts of Eastern Africa.
# 3 Khamis / Habesha kemis (Horn of Africa)
It is an ankle-length dress that is usually worn by the Ethiopian and Eritrean women at formal events.
# 2 Kanga / Kitenge (Eastern Africa / Central Africa)
This is an East African and Central African fabric, similar to the kikoy, but it is a thicker cloth and has an edging on only one side. It is often worn by women and wrapped around the chest or waist.
# 1 Dashiki (all around Africa)
This is a colorful government for men worn as a shirt and women as an ankle-length skirt or dress, that is widely worn around Africa and styled in many different ways.