In recent times, fashion has become one of the most common ways of expressing one’s culture, style, and heritage. If you are a person who is proud of your culture and needs to prove it, then the best way to do this is through fashion. When it comes to setting fashion trends in most western countries, African-inspired fashion plays a huge part since most designers prefer blending various new styles with the African theme in order to create unique and interesting designs that are likely to be accepted anywhere across the world.

African fashion is characterized by vibrant colors and a wide range of prints with different patterns representing various tribes across the African continent. A great example of such fabrics is Ankara. This fabric is made of 100% cotton, and it can be used to design a wide range of clothing items such as jackets, headscarves, and dresses. Social media has played a very important role in popularizing African fashion, leading to some of the biggest fashion brands to adopt various African fashion styles with great success. Most catwalk events in the western countries are characterized by simple tribal patterns combined with intricate representations of the African people and culture.

Inspiring Design Concepts

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One of the reasons why most designers prefer integrating African fashion into their new designs is due to the fact that the different African design patterns provide a wide range of possibilities for coming up with a unique design. As much as this might seem easy, the truth is that it can become a bit hard to end up with the perfect combination since designers have to collect information such as unique patterns, types of motifs, and various coloring styles in order to come up with the perfect end product.

Examples of Popular Style Trends Influenced by the African culture

There is no denying that African culture is widely represented across the world through fashion. In the modern-day, you will come across a lot of different fashion styles that originated from the African continent. Keep reading to find out some of the modern styles that you probably didn’t know originated from Africa.

1.      Braids

Across the world, hair braiding can be observed throughout different cultures. However, with a little observation, you will notice that the intensity of hair braiding in Africa is higher than anywhere else in the world. Tribes like the Himba people have been braiding their hair for centuries. This style has also been synonymous with Egyptians for a very long time and it can be traced back to 3500BC. Besides being used for styling, braids could also be used to differentiate one tribe from another, and also for social identification.

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2.      Clothing Patterns

It is important to note that the practice of wearing clothes with patterns did not originate only from one culture. However, most of the clothes being worn today with patterns tend to have originated from Africa. You will note that most of these patterns are filled with distinct symbols and shapes, they are bold and colorful, and they are also very intricate. Some of the most commonly known fashion designs that have embraced the African culture include wax prints, Ankara styles, and even Swiss voile garments. The Ankara fabrics, for example, are commonly used in the Western parts of Africa.

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3.      Hair Beads

Most people remember having beads in their hair since their childhood. However, a lot of them do not know where this style originated from. This style is known to have originated from the Wodaabe and Fulani tribes that can be found in West Africa and the Sahel Region. For centuries, these tribes have embraced hair beads, and this style was most commonly used for tribal and aesthetic purposes.

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4.      Headwraps

According to Historians, wearing headwraps can be linked to the Pharaonic times where members of the royal families used to wear headbands or cover their heads with wigs designed from specific materials. On the other hand, in the upper parts of Africa, materials such as feathers, beads, and shavings from the baobab tree were used in the designing of head coverings. Up to this date, headwraps are still commonly used by women in order to represent both their marital and social status. They are also most commonly used in spiritual events, ceremonial occasions, and also as a fashion accessory among the young women to symbolize their African heritage. Another reason why most young women love wearing headwraps is due to the fact that they can be tied in a number of ways to ensure they suit the intended occasion.

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5.      Makeup

Contrary to what people think today, makeup has been in existence for centuries. The first type of cosmetics can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. This is because many of the tombs that were discovered in Egypt contained makeup kits and canisters. Both men and women in ancient Egypt used ointments and scented oils to mask body odor and soften and clean their skins. Kohl, a mixture of copper, lead, metal, ash, and burnt diamond, was also commonly used by both men and women to paint around their eyes. The purpose of this mixture was to ward off dangerous spirits, and it also came in handy to deflect the harsh desert sun.

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African fashion has become the key to modern-day designers when looking for unique designs that are likely to be embraced across the world. It has also gone a long way in helping to change the styles of some of the biggest couture labels out there to enable them come up with more designs that tend to also create social awareness. When it comes to ingenuity and style, the African continent has played a big role with its unique techniques of creating unique textiles that are rare to find in any other part of the world. Today, it is even seen as a fashionable thing to wear African-inspired clothing, thanks to the vibrant and rich culture that has been maintained in the African continent for the past centuries.

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