Can you name a few African fabrics? Most people would only mention Ankara and Kente if asked, with Ankara being mentioned the most. As well as these, there are other African textiles we may have seen made into clothes, but we do not know their names. These fabrics have been around for a long time, and they make beautiful outfits when they are sewn. The African fabrics are:
This fabric is also referred to as African wax print, Kitenge, or Dutch wax print. It was originally made by the Dutch for the textile market in Indonesia using a process called 'Batik'. These prints are vibrant and represent African culture.
Fashion accessories, including earrings, bags, and even shoes, are produced from the Ankara print that has thrived in popularity today. All the clothes we sell are also made from Ankara fabric.
This fabric is made in Ghana and it gets its name from the word "kenten", which means "basket" in the Akan dialect. Originally worn by royalty for religious and sacred purposes, this garment is made of silk and cotton cloth strips.
The fabric of this type evolved from a variety of weaving traditions in Ghana before the 11th century. It is also said that weavers invented kente by trying to mimic the patterns of the spider called Anansi.
Originally this fabric was a symbol of wealth and power and was given to titled men and elderly women. It is made in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state in Nigeria and is a woven material usually dyed blue, sometimes green or red.
On the fabric are certain symbols called Nsibidi symbols designed by male Nsibidi artists and these symbols include moons, feathers, metal rods and masks.
Adire, meaning 'tie and dye' in Yoruba, is an indigo-dyed cloth made by Yoruba women in southwestern Nigeria using wax-resist methods to create patterns in an array of colours.
Adire making is popular among the Egbaland people in Ogun State, and Abeokuta is known as the capital of Adire making in Nigeria. The cloth is worn as wrappers or as an adornment.
This fabric is made from velvet or cotton in eastern Nigeria and means 'lion's head' in Igbo. They were mostly worn by the men when they became chiefs, but nowadays even women wear them as outfits for their traditional weddings and other lovely styles.
When worn by men, the Isi-Agu is a long-sleeved or short-sleeved pullover tunic shirt with Gold buttons that are linked by a chain and a breast pocket on the front of the shirt.