Africa

umutsha avaMany indigenous African tribes have a tradition to adorn their clothes, jewelry, and accessories with beads. Beadwork is a significant part of African folk culture. And Zulu people are among those communities very skilled in beading. One particular lovely accessory of Zulu cultural heritage is a beaded belt called “umutsha”. It’s sad that a large amount of knowledge about the symbolism of umutsha belts is already lost. But these beautiful, artful belts need to be preserved and remembered.

African avaWe’d like to share with you several photos that depict modern African clothing with traditional patterns, cuts, and designs. These are examples of how people can revive old clothing traditions and embody them in very modern and very fashionable outfits. But the most adorable and sweet thing about these photos is that they show not separate folk costumes but couples and even families dressed in matching attires (made from the same fabric with the same patterns, designed in one style, or outfits that complement each other).

Garment avaAfrican 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 regalia avaAfrican traditional costumes are diverse, very bright, and truly unique. We’ve prepared a cool material for you which will help you learn more about the folk outfits of Africa (to be more precise, Zulu and Xhosa clothing). Two African folk clothing designers Nkosinathi Mbatha and Nombuso Khulu, who have succeeded in this business, have plenty to tell you about African traditional outfits and their influence on modern fashion. Also, you’ll find out what ordinary people in Africa think about folk costumes and why do they wear such clothing.

Afrofuturism1 avaThe film “Black Panther” already became famous and many people’s favorite. And its makers must thank the costume designers for that. The outfits of Wakandans really are perfect and authentic and symbolic. “Black Panther” costumes display Afrofuturism. Let’s find out what the costume designer of this movie has to say about using African traditional clothing as stage costumes. Where did she get inspiration? What tribes and cultures can be recognized in the decorations? What tricks did the film crew have to use to fit such unusual costumes into the shooting process?

Black Panther avaThis is the second article that features the stage costumes of the “Black Panther” movie characters. In the first one, we talked about the main people of Wakanda; here, we’ll review the outfits of other principal characters and the adorable African style of their clothing. We’ll also share with you the background of these stage costumes and the African tribal outfits that has inspired the costume designers. So, the characters whose attire we’ll review are River Tribe people, Dora Milaje, Okoye, Erik Killmonger, Border Tribe people, W’Kabi, Mining Tribe people, Jabari Tribe people, and M’Baku.

Wakanda avaThe 2018 movie “Black Panther” could be declared the best film ever in the area of using African folk clothing as stage costumes. These attires show the African flavor like no other. Black Panther costume designers did a very good job creating the outfits of Black Panther characters, including jewels, accessories, and makeup. Many of the fabrics were even handmade using traditional methods. But let’s take a closer look at the clothes of Black Panther’s main characters: T’Challa, Shuri, Ramonda, Zuri, and Nakia.

African clothing store avaThe Hollywood movies often play an important role in the popularizing… just about anything, from cars to gadgets, from clothing and accessories to hairdos and makeup. Lately, we got a great example of such influence: the movie Black Panther, released in 2018, caused a real boom for folk clothing business in the US. The small stores that sell traditional African outfits and accessories received a 70-80% increase in foot traffic. And all because people buy African-style clothes to create the atmosphere for movie watching parties.

African avaAfrica is an astounding continent, with unique traditions, beliefs, and culture. There are so many different ethnic groups in Africa, who continue to keep and estimate their cultural identity throughout ages. Even in the 21st century, many African folk costumes or garments are still in use by the locals. Of course, a lot of people from other parts of the world like and often buy the traditional outfits from Africa. And that’s alright – it helps to grow African economy and fight the poverty. But there is a question, if foreigners should wear folk African costumes, not knowing what they mean or symbolize.

Dashiki avaIndigenous African Yoruba people wear a beautiful garment that was being developed both in their motherland – Africa – and outside the country (in the US and the Caribbean) for decades. This clothing piece has a different name for male and female variation. And for many Africans, it became the symbol of the Black identity and millennial tradition. But how does it look like? And what’s so special about it? Let’s find out a little bit more about the dashiki and buba – such unusual names can’t hide something boring and prosaic!

Doek avaA headdress is probably the most important part of African folk costume. And the whole existence of this piece of clothes is based on African history, traditions, weather conditions, and local fashion. So, only today and only for you)) – 5 best ways of wrapping an African head tie. And they are forehead scarf, head wrap bun, head tie, twisty bun, and oversized chignon. So very easy to make and look very authentic.

Head wrap avaThis is a story told by the young woman from Jamaica. Her name is Lyndsay, and she will share with us her knowledge about the African traditional head wrap that is used throughout African diaspora in the US, the Caribbean, and South America. Head wrap, head tie, headdress, duku, doek, gele, tukwi, musuro, or turban. These are just a few names given to the ornate headscarf worn by Black women across the diaspora.

African clothes avaIn Africa, the clothing traditions are very strong. Locals often use the folk clothes during the ceremonies and special occasions (for instance, weddings, rituals of entering womanhood or manhood, national festivities, etc.). Even when they wear a European-style clothing, Africans mix it with the traditional garments, accessories, and adornments. Such mixes are typical in Africa or for those Africans who live abroad. By the way, even living in foreign countries, Africans don’t hesitate to wear folk outfits in day-to-day life and for ceremonies.

Algeria avaThe traditional dress of Algeria is beautiful and diverse. This is a large country, that’s why the folk costumes of various parts of it can differ a lot. In this material, we’d like to show you the traditional outfits typical for Algiers, Tlemcen and Constantine regions, Berber and Touareg ethnic clothing. Did you know that in some parts of Algeria, veils are worn by men rather than women, unlike in any other countries of the Arab World? That’s right. Algeria still has a lot of clothing customs that can surprise you.

Algerian bride avaAlgerian bridal outfit is magnificent. If you’ve never visited Arab countries, there is a great possibility that you haven’t ever seen anyone dressed and jeweled as richly and opulently as these brides. Dozens of rows of pearls, massive gold jewelry, gems, embroidery with gold and silver threads – everything is glowing and sparkling. Every bride looks like a royal queen on her wedding day. It is a tradition, so those who are poorer and can’t afford so many jewels, borrow or rent them. But let’s find out what other wedding traditions do they have in Algeria.

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.

Angola avaPeople in Angola, especially men, usually wear contemporary Western-style clothes today. But some traditional garments are still in use, although mostly in rural areas or for special occasions. One of the last national garments that can be seen in the streets of Angola on a daily basis is a pano, an African batik dress. And even this item had to modernize and Westernize a little to be still popular among Angolan women in the 21st century. Curiously, at the same time, some Angolan tribes traditionally continue dressing in animal skins or not wearing any clothes at all.

kaross avaMen and women in Botswana traditionally dress in clothes made from animal skins because they’re durable, easy to get (Tswana men are great hunters) and work with, and it is the way their ancestors dressed. One of the most interesting Tswana folk garments is a blanket called “kaross”. It is used by the local men. And this traditional African blanket would probably cause animal defenders to have a stroke – it is created of rows and rows of animal skins sewn together.

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.

Liputa avaIn Congo, most ladies pay great attention to their outfits because the looks matter here. If you want to be respected and approved of in Congo, you need a unique and magnificent-looking liputa apparel. It’s the local traditional attire made in a specific fashion. Liputa is always bright and eye-catching, never average. This Congolese traditional and modern folk clothing screams African by its vivid prints and alluring styles.

Congolese headdress avaQueen Ramonda’s headdress in Black Panther movie was inspired by African tribal hats and hairdos. We often see similar elongated shapes of hairstyles, headpieces, and even the skull itself in African old photos. People artificially changed the shape of their heads, bandaging the babies’ heads. It was dictated by the local standards of beauty, old traditions, and cultural identity. This tradition has disappeared in the mid-20th century. But a specific woven hairstyle of Mangbetu women in the same shape as Ramonda’s hat is still used today and allows to maintain this peculiar African tradition.

Egyptian Couple avaThere are many museums in Egypt that display artifacts connected to Ancient Egypt and its culture. Of course, it doesn’t matter that Egypt is limited to only this period, but the Ancient Egypt heritage is huge. That’s why most of the folk museums listed in this post have a connection to it. But Egyptian clothing traditions are more than just pharaoh outfits, so if you’re going to visit Egypt and want to see the local national clothing, jewelry, and folk crafts, here is a list of Egyptian folk museums for you. Make your vacation more diverse and useful.

Egyptian tunic avaThis article will shed some light on the work of museum conservators. Particularly, we’ll talk about an 8th-century Egyptian tunic exhibited at the V&A. What problems do museum conservators encounter with textile pieces? How do they actually do the conservation? How are vintage clothing articles exhibited and why? These and other questions will be answered here by one of the V&A employees. Also, you’ll get a chance to see beautiful details of this Egyptian tunic.

Ancient Egypt avaWe know a lot about Ancient Egypt and its fashionable clothing, jewelry, and makeup from the movies, pictures, and books. But how do you think, have you seen and heard everything there is to know? Of course, not. There are still curious facts about the traditional attire and style of Ancient Egypt that we are glad to share with you. For instance, ever wondered why wigs were so popular in Ancient Egypt? Or are you aware that on some Egyptian statues, the beards are removable and why?

Loom avaEgyptian craftswomen from Naqada district are masters in hand weaving the scarves. This craft is ancient and it has been feeding the locals since hundreds of years ago untill today. Though, in modern days, fewer and fewer people are ready to work so hard to earn a living. The traditional handwoven textile of Naqada is exciting to watch but it is a hard labor – each step of the process is handmade: from inventing the future design and color palette to spinning the yarn to preparing the threads for the loom to weaving to finishing the scarf, etc.

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.