Clothing in Africa
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African clothing is the traditional clothing, often vibrantly coloured, worn by the people of Africa. In some instances these traditional garments have been replaced by clothing influenced by foreign cultures, particularly western, such as by European colonialists or popular culture.
In Northeastern Africa, particularly in Egypt, styles of traditional dress have been influenced by Middle Eastern culture, this can be exemplified by the simply embroidered jelabiya which are similarly worn in the Gulf states. The Northwest Africans are less influenced by foreign elements and have remained more in antiquity. The djellaba (worn in Northwest Africa) shares similar properties with the grand boubou, the dashiki, and the Senegalese kaftan. In Nigeria, women wear headbands In Sahelian Africa, the dashiki, Senegalese kaftan, and the grand boubou are worn more prominently, though not exclusively (the bògòlanfini, for instance, is worn in Mali). The dashiki is highly stylized and is rendered with an ornate V-shaped collar. In contrast the grand boubou is simpler, even more so than the djellaba, though the color designs reach impressive proportions, especially among the Tuareg, who are known for their beautifully dyed indigo robes.
Used western clothing
There exist non-profit organizations in all western societies that sell used clothes to for-profit companies in Africa. These "white man's clothes" are quite common in some parts of the continent. This used clothing is called mitumba in some areas and is surrounded by some controversy. Critics point to it as a threat to local clothing manufacturers and complain that it exploits consumers. Others[who?] argue that this used clothing provides useful competition for often expensive and low quality local products.
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- "Alphabetical List of Inscriptions and Their Translations: Kanga & Kitenge: Cloth and Culture in East Africa" (PDF). Erie Art Museum. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
- Howden, Daniel (14 November 2009). "Kangalicious: Let your dress do the talking". The Independent. Retrieved 14 November 2009.
Anyone wearing a kanga with the proverb Fimbo La Mnyonge Halina Nguvu" (Might is Right) may know something about the darker side of the garment's journey from the coast into the interior.