The latest trend to sweep mainstream America has been popular for a few seasons and even found itself at the center of early controversy, but it is without a doubt that the African dashiki has landed it's spot on the street fashion radar and is here to stay. Again...
The garment- a loose fitting tunic sewed from bright African patterns and colors, often with embroidery around the collar, the sleeves and bottom half- first became popular in America in the mid 1960's as a style extension of the Black Pride movement. Worn by Black Panthers, Black leaders and diplomats,as well as the people on the streets, the dashiki served as an identity marker right a long with Afros, beads and head wraps.
Today is really no different. Yes, we see them worn on people who do not traditionally identify with the culture, but the same thing happened in the '60s when the hippies who were attracted to the embroidery and bright colors started wearing them. It doesn't take anything away from the tradition, the struggle or the meaning behind the fabrics and colors because other races chooses to embrace a style of dress as long as it is done in a tasteful and appropriate way. But buyer beware because most dashikis sold in stores or online today are directly from China, some vintage ones may have been imported from India or Pakistan. Check the "hand" (the heaviness of the fabric) and ask about the country of origin if you want authenticity!
With that being said, let's talk about three easy ways to introduce the garment into your wardrobe!
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