Cool African Fashion

by andrewatla

African fashion is all about colors. The daring combinations of vibrant colors and tribal patterns present in most African traditional costumes have long ago crossed the borders of the continent and inspired designers world-wide. But while African fabrics and hand-made accessories become increasingly popular around the world, Africa remains a continent of striking contrasts. In Africa you’ll find tribes that are very faithful to their traditional way of dressing, but also promising fashion designers ready to make a name in the haute couture industry.
There is also a casual African style consisting of a mix of European cuts with African fabrics or vice versa. You’ll surely notice a lot of interesting combinations during your trips and it would be a pity not to come back with some interesting clothes. In my ‘cool African fashion‘ guide I will try to present you some widely popular African clothing items:

Mandiba Shirts

Mandiba is rather an informal name for these colorful silk shirts. Former dissident and African president Nalson Mandela created a new fashion trend when wearing his batik shirts at official events. The Mandiba shirt follows the regular man shirt pattern but it stands out due to the flowery, tribal or abstract prints.

Kaftan Dresses

by e-Eva-a

Originally a more sophisticated attire, kaftan dresses have now become a popular item in many countries around the world, including Europe and USA. There is a great variety of kaftan dresses, however the best known with Westerners are the long, flowery dresses worn by hippies. A kaftan is usually made of cotton and has long and large sleeves. It can be a very comfy and chic item to be worn at the beach.


by RubyGoes

Another popular fashion in Africa, especially the Eastern side is the kanga – a generous cotton scarf with rich motifs that can be worn both as an accessory of a piece of clothing. There are many uses of the kanga: men and women can use it to wrap it against their heads and protect themselves from sun, as a bag, as a skirt and even as a table cloth:). It also bears a symbolic function, as many kangas have proverbs written on them.


Dashiki is the men outwear equivalent of the kaftan dress. It’s a short sleeve shirt with colorful prints or embroideries that usually cover the area around the neck and the margins of the sleeves. Men in West Africa wear it for different occasions: weddings, funerals, and holidays.

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