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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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
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
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."