Welcome to my Fashion Room at TANTV: a collaborative fashion series with luxury African-inspired modern fashion line “OYE Collection”
Come with me on a little virtual trip to West Africa. Picture a host of women walking into a regal-looking event venue, holding their heads up high, all adorned in various beautiful, colorful, and bold prints. You look at these ladies and you see the boldness and confidence they exude. The light in their faces and the joy they express is almost palpable. You can see and feel the fierceness in them dissipating every worry and insecurity that may exist within. Looking at them closely, you can see that they all come from different tribes and ethnic groups. You can tell they are from different socio-economic backgrounds. They each have had different life experiences, and they are all faced with different life challenges. Yet, something so beautiful unites them and brings out such beauty and radiance in them, something they all have in common at that particular moment, and something that makes their differences inconsequential. The beauty of the African Print.
Prints in general are not a new phenomenon. Prints have been around for thousands of years, and various countries around the world express prints differently in ways unique to their cultures and backgrounds. Despite the availability of a variety of prints around the world, there is something about West African prints that cannot be compared to any other. If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting an African country, chances are you have come in contact with an African print style. Nowadays, even in the Western world, they have gained a lot of popularity amongst diasporic Africans. Not only that, in recent years, there has been increased interest in African Prints among Non-Africans. One may wonder why they are now gaining so much popularity, considering that they have been around for many years. There are many factors in our society that have contributed to this increased awareness of African culture and clothing. One of the undeniable factors is the regal beauty of the African Print and the voluminous language it speaks.
As we continue on our virtual trip to West Africa, let us explore the famous Ankara fabric, also known as the African Wax Print. This undeniably rich, colorful, and beautiful fabric boasts itself in 100% cotton and has a rich influence from Indonesia. Adapting the influence of Indonesia, the Dutch introduced the Ankara fabric to West Africa in the 19th Century. Eventually, the African culture and its tastes for designs and colors influenced the evolution of the Ankara print, leading it to become what it is today. From deep traditional functions to modern-day events and functions, the versatility of Ankara prints is endless.
Let us now take our travel to the country of Ghana and explore a regal print that is distinct to this part of West Africa, called the Kente fabric. The Kente cloth originated from Ghana centuries ago, with a popular association with the Ashanti people. It is highly rich in history and culture. Kente cloth is an alluring and vibrant handwoven printed fabric worn by Ghanaians. It was initially reserved for Royals attending select events and functions. Today, it has gained more popularity among many throughout Ghana and Africa, including non-royals. The Kente cloth is now a fabric associated with beauty and culture globally.
The weaving technique of the Kente cloth is said to have been inspired by the observation of a spider’s method of building its intricate web. Long narrow strips of the kente cloth are interwoven in a wooden handloom. These strips are then later sewn together to create the finished statement pieces we see on people. The making of Kente fabric requires careful craftsmanship and impressive hand-eye coordination that is said to give you a greater appreciation for the cloth and its craftsmanship.
The next time you come across an African print, don’t just look at it as just any clothing, look at it from the perspective of the history it represents, the culture it brings, the joy it expresses, and the boldness it exudes. Pick up one today, and wear it with pride. It is worth the investment, and it will last you for many years to come!
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My Fashion Room at TANTV is a collaborative fashion series with luxury African-inspired modern fashion line “OYE Collection”
Dr. Adebola Adeleye, also know as Dr. Nike, is the Creative Director of OYE Collection, luxury African-inspired modern fashion line. Nike sees fashion as a channel for joy, finding delight in accessories and clothing. Her love for fashion coexists with a profound devotion to her faith and a commitment to female empowerment. These passions are encapsulated in OYE Collection’s mission to “UNLEASH THE FIERCENESS WITHIN” every woman by celebrating Africa’s vibrant aesthetic. Dr. Nike seeks to heal and empower women, highlighting their beauty, courage, and boldness through OYE, unveiling fierceness in every woman through fashion and empowerment.