July 18, 2024

African Clothing: The Meaning of Colours and Designs

Clothes have been an essential part of our lives for centuries and we may in fact never know when humans started wearing clothes.

African Clothing: The Meaning Colours and Designs

Archeological findings show that tree leaves and barks as well as animal skin or fur were used by our ancestors for clothing. It is therefore assumed that clothes have been in existence for thousands of years and perhaps, right from the beginning of time.
Clothes have played a major role in contributing to the behaviour of humans and this knowledge has brought an unprecedented change in the clothing industry. Different patterns, designs, or styles are made and purchased depending on one’s sense of fashion or simply for one’s comfort.

One’s culture or tradition can be depicted with unique styles, vibrating and exceptionally coloured clothes. Surprised? Well you don’t  have to be. We have become conversant with the major tribes’ outfit, but many of us have little knowledge about other tribes.
In recent times, African clothes have become more than just a fashion statement and the demand for these fabrics is exceedingly high in many parts of the world, including the United States. These clothes are a symbol of one’s creativity, status, allegiance and honour to one’s African tribal roots.
Wearing African clothing is also an exceptional way for many to honour and commemorate their heritage and the beauty of their homeland. These clothes are not made simply for their flattering and attractive look as every colour, symbol, pattern, and shape of the clothing may have a significant meaning.

Colour and Significance

Depending on the group of individuals being studied, there may be different meanings or reasons behind each colour used. However, we will focus on some of the commonest meanings and significance of certain colours used in African clothes.

Here is a list of the few colours that you should know their meaning in Africa:

White: Ever wonder why most wedding gowns are made with white fabrics? Well, this colour represents purity and spirituality.
Red: Why do bulls dislike this colour? We may have an answer. Red is often viewed as the colour of blood and represents tension or danger in the spiritual or political world.
Gold: Of course, this colour represents riches, wealth, and fertility. After all, not everyone can own gold.
Blue: This colour signifies harmony. It also represents peace and love. We expect nothing else from a colour of the sky.
Green: Just like the trees, this medicinal colour signifies life and prosperity.

You can blend any of these colours and enjoy a colourful outfit. Whether you want to rock a native attire or a corporate attire, these colours have something to do with your elegance. There are colours you may not want to wear in some places because of taboos.

African Clothing: The Meaning Colours and Designs

Meanwhile, many tribes in the continent have their unique colours that mean different from what we wrote here. when visiting a new region, you should learn more about their clothing to help you make the right colour selection. Let us know in the comment section if you learnt about any meaning tied to a particular colour in your part of Africa.

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