August 11, 2010
African Influence in Fashion
For the past year or so, I have been noticing more and more designers who are using fabric similar to, if not the same as, a fabric called Ankara which is worn a lot by people in West Africa. I was born in Nigeria and there is nothing I enjoy more than designing a new traditional outfit to be made & getting to go to a fabric shop and choose a fabric I like from the rainbow of Ankara styles that seem to never end or repeat. This fabric is so colorful and as ya’ll know, I am an advocate for wearing bright colors.
Like I said, these colorful creations have made debuts on runways around the world & have even been the main inspiration behind whole clothing lines. For example, Boxing Kitten is a clothing line which consists of brightly colored looks completely composed of this vibrant fabric. This clothing line, designed by a woman named Maya A. Lake, is quite popular amongst some well-known celebrities: Alicia Keys & Beyonce rocked these vibrant frocks in their music video for Put It In A Love Song, Solange Knowles has been photoed wearing pieces from this designer on several occasions, and Fergie has been caught wearing a Boxing Kitten romper.
If you don’t think you can handle a full on Ankara outfit, definitely go for an accessory made out of the fabric. Even something as small as a bracelet will be enough to add something special to your outfit. Designers have been using this fabric to make earrings, bracelets, and best of all…SHOES! I absolutely love the way the Ankara shoes look, they are definitely on my ‘things I need to buy’ list.
So dare to add a cultural pop to your wardrobe! It may be hard for some of you to find this kind of clothing for cheap, unfortunately. However, if you happen to know a West African, they can most likely point you in the right direction. You see, most Africans have their outfits custom made by tailors who can produce a beautifully unique outfit for under $100 (that is including the price of the fabric as well). Personally, the Ankara outfits that I own were produced for an average of $60 per outfit. This pales in comparison to the prices charged by clothing lines such as Boxing Kitten. If you are really interested in this clothing, you just need to play around online for a while and you may find a website which sells this clothing for a decent price!
Places to shop for this look (link list):