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Traditional African Textiles: Exploring Kente, Ankara, and Dashiki

With a rich history that dates back centuries, African print fabrics have played a significant role in the entire continent's culture, identity, and fashion trends. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of traditional Kente, Ankara, and Dashiki textiles.

Importance of Traditional African Textiles

For many centuries and across several countries, African prints have been used to communicate more than our words can say. They tell stories, symbolise social status, and celebrate cultural values. Traditional African textiles represent a rich tapestry of life and identity on the continent.

Today, African prints are gaining popularity in global fashion, interior design, and art. But though African prints are appreciated for their beauty, it’s important to remember the deeper meanings they carry. The weaving techniques passed down from generation to generation represent a link to the past, a connection to ancestors, and a tribute to African creativity.


Kente fabric is an African print fabric originating from Ghana in West Africa. It has profound historical significance and was traditionally worn by the kings and queens of the Ashanti and Ewe tribes. Each colour in the cloth holds a special meaning; gold represents status and serenity, yellow represents fertility, green is a symbol of earth and renewal, blue represents purity and harmony, red represents passion, and black represents union with ancestors and spiritual awareness.

traditional dashiki fabric

Kente fabric is a traditional African textile that’s regarded as a symbol of dignity and honour. This fabric is usually worn by wrapping the cloth around the body or the shoulders as a shawl. It’s typically worn during weddings and special occasions and by African-American students as a graduation stole.


Ankara fabric is another popular traditional African textile. Its beauty, versatility, and cultural significance have gained worldwide popularity. Ankara prints are widely used to create unique clothing for both formal and casual occasions, and fashion designers have incorporated them into their collections to create unique and bold designs. Ankara fabric is used to create several different modern styles. If you’d like to find ways to add African print clothing to your wardrobe, the Mya Infinity Jumpsuit and the Zora Infinity Dress are both beautiful African print clothing.


The beautiful and unique dashiki fabric, also known as Angelina fabric, is one of the most recognisable African print textiles. This cloth is most popularly used to create the colourful, loose-fitting pullover top known as a Dashiki. Both men and women can be seen proudly wearing dashikis of different colours and styles. Whether you choose to wear a long-sleeved dashiki, a more casual style, or a formal dashiki, there are several ways to incorporate this fabric into your wardrobe.

traditional african print dashiki

Final thoughts

In each of these traditional African wax fabrics, Kente, Ankara, and Dashiki, we can find the threads of history, identity, and resilience. African textiles are not just about the clothes we wear but the stories we tell, the values we uphold, and the heritage we carry. They stand as a testament to the power and spirit of our community.

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