African Print Skirts

Ankara print, or African print clothing, has been increasing in popularity, and celebrities are starting to get in on the trend as well. Famous singers like Rihanna and Kelis have been seen wearing print skirts during performances or as part of their casual attire. Actress, Singer, Fashion Designer and businesswoman Solange Knowles has also been seen wearing African inspired clothing, and her big sister Beyoncé loves this fashion trend as well. This has garnered even more attention for African print dresses and clothing pieces. Celebrities like actress Nicole Ari Parker even wear African prints on the red carpet from time to time, showing that these patterns and colours can be both upbeat and elegant.

African clothing is fun and vibrant, and the colours and patterns immediately get attention. A number of African-American, Caribbean and UK citizens of African descent are making a conscious decision to showcase their pride in their culture, which is both fashionable and inspiring. Due to recent news headlines’ involving black people as the victims of police brutality, more people of African descent are making it clear that discrimination needs to be eradicated and they’re making this statement, in part, through fashion. The Black Lives Matter movement has also prompted many black people to start learning more about their culture and history, and African dress has served as a way to enhance self-awareness and expression. However, a number of white celebrities with appreciation for African clothing, such as Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga, are proudly showing up to awards shows and events wearing traditional African tribal prints. Not to be outdone, members of the Kardashian family have also been seen wearing African-style clothing, since form-fitting tribal dresses and colourful print tops are very on trend right now.

There are also a number of new fashion companies that specialize in African dress. Gwen Stefani’s clothing company, L.A.M.B (Love Angel Music Baby) has a line of African inspired clothing, as well as other high-end fashion brands that are getting in on the African dress trend as well. Companies, such as Burberry, Dolce and Gabbana are presenting African inspired accessories and outfits to their customers as well.

The meaning behind African skirts and other forms of African clothing is varied. Ankara prints have a number of different meanings, and the colours of the clothing are rooted in symbolism as well. For instance, Asoebi is a type of African print clothing that is worn for special occasions, such as a wedding. Asoebi means “clothes of the family” and is often worn in Nigeria. Clothing that features African print is often worn as a status symbol as well, which is why many people save their elaborate or especially colourful Ankara print for attending a formal event.

Colours have a significant meaning in Ankara clothing as well. Bright colours are very common in African clothing. For instance, while the colour red is often used to signal love or passion in the Western world, it is the colour of mourning in South Africa. In Nigeria, red is a noble colour that is reserved for village chiefs. Yellow is another colour that is reserved for people with high rankings or positions in Africa. However, yellow is worn in Egypt by people who are in mourning. Green is the colour of hope and new life in many parts of Africa. In the northern part of the continent, however, green is worn as a sign of the drug culture, and is the colour of corruption. Blue is often worn to ward off evil spirits, and black is the colour of wisdom and long life when it comes to Ankara clothing.

African clothing often includes patterned symbols, which are known as Adinkra. These symbols have a meaning that reflects a principle or fundamental truth in life. For instance, the Adrinkraehene, which looks like a bull’s eye, is the most important of all the Adrinkra symbols, and is a sign of charisma, leadership and greatness. The Kete Pa symbol, which looks like small woven mattress, means “good marriage,” and the pattern, is often worn by couples. The Sankofa symbol, which can either be a heart, made of two swirled lines, or a bird with a long neck looking backwards, means “go back and get it,” which is a reminder to some to resolve their pasts so they can move confidently into the future. African print skirts may also feature the Duafe, which looks very similar to an Afro pick. The Duafe is a sign of feminine beauty and womanly qualities. The Aya or fern is portrayed in Ankara clothing patterns as well, and means resourcefulness of endurance.

When it comes to African printed skirts they come in a variety of styles. Lappas are skirts that are traditionally worn during African dance, since they wrap around the waist and are easy to move in. Lappas with higher slits and lighter fabrics are often worn with bathing suits as well. Iros are long wrap skirts that are usually made from very colourful fabric, and these can be worn to both casual and formal occasions. A number of long African skirts are also made in mermaid style, which accentuates the hips and flares at the bottom.

African skirts have been around for centuries, but they are making a definite cultural statement these days. Not only do they still serve as traditional dress for many African women, they are a symbol of pride and confidence for younger women as well. As fashion continues to evolve, the African skirt, as well as other forms of Adinkra clothing, will remain timeless, since there are plenty of ways to wear Adrinkra prints on a daily basis.

Knowing this our aim at Be London is make it easier to find African print clothing and fashion that is affordable and also o provide recommendations for wearing African print in professional, casual and creative ways.

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