Recently, there has been a lot of conversation starting around African expressionism. How much the West has influenced out very own culture, beliefs, fashion and food. There is a huge wave of people who seek to be culturally conscious and woke where they are tracing back their ancestry to find who they are. This wave is so eminent that people are appreciating all that they are and changing the narrative and we are here for it. For us to understand where we are going it is important to understand where we came from. How exactly has African fashion evolved?
We are having some sort of merger reality two different and yet dynamic cultures are infusing together to form a really diverse future. African cultures are colourful and bright from the print on our clothes to the beads on our necks. Whatever part of Africa we are from the most uniting factor is we love colours. A part of African fashion history drew fabric from different sources. From lion skin to bark of trees to wool, depending on where a certain African community was from (geographically and climate wise) their clothes and choice of materials would often reflect for instance the Agikikuyu community from Kenya have a lot of woollen fabric clothes as they from the Central parts of Kenya near Mt Kenya yet the Samburu / Turkana communities’ clothes are normally light ‘shukas’
Fashion before the pre-colonial era was pure and undiluted both men and women wore whatever their status, leadership and role dictated for them to wear. During this time many in the African society dedicated their time to arts and crafts, wax prints, sculpting, carving and many more. This time the authentic African creativity came to show in designs and print.
A little bit of everything
Some may describe this time to be the darkest time in Africa’s history. Many colonial regimes came and scrambled for Africa what followed was dilution of the said cultures to have more western symbolism. African fashion experienced a drastic change of style. Consequently, many traditional wears were replaced and some were influenced by western fashion, although some rural areas in Africa still retain their traditional wear to date. By the 15th century, African fashion transitioned to a merge of both western and African fashion, due to the shipping routes opened between Africa, Europe and the East.
A harmony of the past and the present.
African designers are channeling their very own cultural creativity to break and re-mold what modern fashion is. We are experiencing a lot of a dynamic shift where there is a demand for African textile and fabric across the globe. A lot more African designers and brands are building towards a complete awareness and appreciation of the African culture.
That is why brands like us exist to remind of the past of where we came from and what we were. When you wear Genteel you wear history!
Book with us today to get your customised outfit.