• TeKay Designs specializes in traditional wedding gowns, ethnic bridal gowns, formal wear, and maternity dresses.

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  • TeKay Designs specializes in custom and ready mady formal ethnic fashions from Africa, India and East Asia.

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Monday 19 March 2018
 African Fabrics

African Fabrics


African Fabrics Too often the image of Africa is one of civil war and famine that overshadows the positive image of extraordinary creativity and artistry passed down from generation to generation.Ē Today, African fabric and African-inspired clothing is fashionable and can be worn throughout the year for various occasions including bridal, formal and career.

While traditional African attire is generally loose fitting, many designers are tailoring their afrocentric wear to a more fitted Western style with ethnic accents. Wedding gowns made using African fabric can be decorated with hand stitched embroidery, cowrie shells, trims or beads, or adinkra symbols. The Adinkra symbols are small, symbolic pictures used to decorate colorful patterned cloth by fabric designers in Ghana. These symbols are usually embroidered onto African attire for bridal, formal or special occasions.

For example, Gye Nyame is an Adinkra symbol representing the omnipotence of God and immortality of God is hand embroidered onto a wedding dress in the TeKay Designs Sankofa Collection.

The Gye Nyame symbol, a prominent symbol on the African chiefís clothing, is a greatly cherished and highly respected symbol in Ghana especially for the Akan tribe.

Another afrocentric wedding dress in the TeKay Designs Sankofa Collection has exquisite gold embroidered Akofena symbols representing the state ceremonial sword in Ghana, West Africa.

An example of traditional style African attire is the buba (a loose fitting blouse), wrapper (wrap-around skirt) and headtie (a piece of cloth that can be tied in a variety of ways). The traditional African menís suit is typically comprised of the daishiki (shirt), trousers, and kuffi (cap). The agbada (gown) can also be worn over the daishiki and trousers. African attire is usually made of African fabrics such as Guinea brocade (bazin), Aso-ake, george or kente. African bridal and formal wear can be made of dupioni, peau de soie, satin, and jacquard. African wear can be worn to Church, evening, bridal, formal, office or casual occasions.

Guinea brocade (or bazin) is a jacquard weave with an attractive luster sheen that has interwoven designs of objects such as stars, moons, flowers or other symbols. Dresses, suits, and shirts made of Guinea brocade with embroidery are quite popular and can be worn throughout the year to a variety of occasions ranging from casual to formal.

African wax print fabrics are among the most colorful and dynamic in the world. Although the designs are pure African, majority of the African wax print fabrics are printed in England and Holland as the prestige fabrics for the West African market.

Aso-ake is worn for ceremonial occasions such as weddings and naming ceremonies throughout south west Nigeria. Aso-ake had shiny metallic lurex and brightly colored rayon threads. In the U.S., wedding attire made of Aso-ake are prestigious, rare, and usually more expensive than outfits made from other African fabric.

George is a hand woven poly/cotton fabric suitable for any elegant occasion. This luxurious fabric is designed in square panel repeats. The geometric borders are woven with gold lurex threads along with a beaded pearl trim. George fabric is available in a variety of colors such as Red and Gold, Purple and Gold, Green and Gold, Black and Gold, etc.

Kente - The origins of kente cloth date back to 12th century Africa, in the country of Ghana. The cloth was worn by Kings, Queens, and important figures of state in Ghana's society, during ceremonial events and special occasions. Kente cloth represents the history, philosophy, ethics, and moral values in African culture. Today as African Americans gain a renewed sense of pride for their motherland, Africa, they wear Kente cloth for fashion, inspiration, and as a reflection of the artistic nature of their African ancestors from Ghana. Hand woven kente made in Ghana has a higher quality and is more expensive than mass produced machine made kente that is usually imported from the Far East.

Dupioni is an elegant fabric woven with slubbed yarns of silk dupioni. Silk dupioni fabric is light to medium in weight, with a dull luster. For centuries silk has had a reputation as a luxurious and sensuous fabric, one associated with wealth and success. Silk is the premier wedding fabric for softness, luster and beauty. Silk retains its shape, drapes well, caresses the figure, and shimmers with a luster all its own. Silk is elegant, versatile and washable. Ethnic silk garments range from evening wear to bridal wear.

Peau de soie - In French means silk skin and has a dull luster. Soft silk (or manufactured fiber) in satin weave. Peau de soie is a heavy, smooth satin with very fine ribbing. African wedding gowns can be made of peau de soie and adorned with gold or colorful embroidery.

Satin - A tightly woven effect that creates a fabric with a beautiful sheen on one side. Typically made in man-made fabrics such as polyester, satin is probably the most common bridal-gown fabric finish. While satin is most often associated with a high-gloss look, it is also available in a matte finish with a toned-down glow.

Jacquard is a weave. Damask is a jacquard woven fabric and a term used for a wide variety of jacquard woven fabrics. African clothing made of jacquard have a luxurious sheen and is very eye-catching. Gowns and skirt suits made of jacquard can be worn to Church and other special occasions.

Where can one get African bridal and formal attire?

Established in 1998, TeKay Designs has been designing ethnic wedding gowns, ethnic womenís and menís clothing. Seizing the opportunity to showcase custom African attire for men and women including ethnic wedding dresses, the company has two collections Ė The Sankofa Collection and the newly released Gold Collection. The ethnic wedding gowns are made of gorgeous dupioni silk, Guinea brocade, embroidered laces, satins, beads and trims designed for brides who want a European cut with ethnic appeal.

Designer Kimma Wreh has been exposed to diverse ethnic cultures and fashions where she worked with talented local tailors and artists in Ghana (the former Gold Coast), India, Brazil and Mexico.

Our vision is to display Afrocentric and ethnic wedding gowns, bridal and formal wear for women and men in conjunction with African arts and crafts to the U.S. and international market.

The word "Sankofa" means "Going Back To Your Roots". "We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward and understand why and how we came to be who we are today."

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