On February 27, 2022, I had the opportunity to co-lead a workshop on “African Fashion and Style Art”. Neilson Park Creative Center. This interactive presentation covered a wide range of topics, including: An overview of African textiles and fabrics, a brief history of African prints in fashion, contemporary African cultural influences, prints and patterns, Canadian African fashion brands, and finally creative styling projects and subsequent fascinating Discussion.
In summary, the African Fashion Workshop explored a variety of African textiles and fabrics. Well, I didn’t publish it because there are so many, but I talked about some notable things such as Kuba cloth, Aso tub, and Kente cloth. In the discussion of carefully selected fabrics, we considered its history and evolution, but more specifically, we discussed the Dutch wax prints or “African prints” that are now widely known and called around the world. ..
Next, I understood how African culture and dressing influence the global fashion industry while inspiring the work of various luxury and brand designers. Once we had a firm grasp of some of the most vibrant fabrics and textiles, we discussed colors and briefly analyzed the color spectrum. Of course, we also researched where to buy African clothing and introduced some African fashion brands in Canada.
Africa is not a monolith
There was a lot of important learning in this African fashion workshop. Let me tell you the most important thing. Africa is not a monolith and it is very difficult to define African fashion. The term “African fashion” is often used, but it is important to recognize that African clothing often varies from country to country by region, language and culture. There are 54 different countries on the continent, each with its own culture, language and form of clothing. Each region of Africa has its own fashion, but there may be certain similarities, such as the whole of West Africa being known for its vibrant fabrics and fabrics, but each country has a different fabric name and a variety. Made with skillful techniques.
African fashion is beautiful and can be difficult to define
While working on this African fashion workshop, I thought that the word “African fashion” was a combination of everything, because there were too many fabrics to catch up with. It is now common to use this term, and to be honest, there is probably no better alternative at this time, but it makes a distinction, is as descriptive as possible, and attribute each fabric to the region. Need to be done. I know its history. It may be a matter of semantics, but it is still important to talk about African fashion and, if possible, make it concrete by making country-wide distinctions.
“African prints” are not of continental origin, but are inspired by African culture and creativity
Also, most of what we know today, called “African prints,” actually start out as batik and have a very complex history. Given this, we can see that most of these popular prints are not from Africa. Their history can be traced back to Indonesia. An art form called batik is an Indonesian resist dyeing method that is applied to the entire fabric to create prints and patterns. Dutch entrepreneurs took this opportunity to industrialize this fabric manufacturing process and introduce their version of the fabric to the African continent, where it was accepted.
African prints of colors that collide with fashion are for everyone!
We can all accept the wearing of African prints, which have a long and complex history of interweaving different cultures and times. The vibrancy of the fabric and its rich colors give us a reputation for its uniqueness and thus calm ourselves. Many people are afraid of cultural appropriation, but in reality it all starts with education and consciousness. Know history, make informed decisions, learn print fashion, and educate others. This silences the skeptics. Today, it’s no longer uncommon to see mixing prints and colors that are conscious of the style of their clothes, as a reflection of their vibrant personality.
Well, the African fashion workshop included a lot more. Therefore, if you are eager to get a copy of the slides in this presentation, click here.