What is a Dashiki ?
African dashikis are colorful loose fitting v necked garments similar to
tunics. They originated in West Africa and were originally worn
predominantly by men though nowadays are worn by pretty much
everyone! The name dashiki comes from the word “danshiki” or dan ciki
which means “shirt” in Hausa and Yoruba, both languages spoken in West
Africa, specifically Nigeria. There are various print styles, known as the
famous ‘Angelina’ and Nsu Bura print.
The popular ‘Angelina’ design print was created by a Dutch Vlisco textile
designer in the19th century based on the original Ethiopian noblewoman
tunic print. Though inspired by Africa, the Vlisco technique using Wax
Hollandais, Super-Wax and Java is derived from Indonesian Batik and is
designed in the Netherlands.
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Dashiki originated as a type of print cloth used to make shirts then
progressed into other styles of dress. There are various styles of dashiki
from short v necked tunic covering the upper body to full length robes and
matching trouser and shirt.
The dashiki became widely popular in the West in the 60’s, particularly in
the USA, as symbolic of the African/American struggle. It was
manufactured in Harlem, New York during this time and became
increasingly popular after being featured in film and media.
In recent times dashiki style has become increasingly ‘trendy’ since being
spotted on celebrities such as Beyonce and Rihanna.
Dashiki African clothing styles have become very popular among African
American communities today. These unique and dynamic prints are also
hugely versatile and can be worn in a number of ways.
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While the traditional dashikis were often embroidered the more usual
everyday dashikis are made from cotton, a light weight comfortable
garment that is ideal in the summer or worn in any warm climate.
As the dashiki style continues to gain popularity it has been transformed
into many other styles including accessories, home decor, shoes etc