• sianbuckley1999

#ThrowbackThursday – how does African fashion from the past influence our style today?

Updated: Aug 12

Africa has a complex and vibrant past, and its fashion is as expressive and unique as the continent itself. African fashion has an exciting history, so let’s take a look at some styles from the past and see what influence they have on African style today.

Firstly, Adire. This distinctive cloth is produced and worn by the Yoruba people in southwestern Nigeria. The traditional design, which originated as early as the 19th century, incorporated a plethora of beautiful shapes, often squares and circles. As the photos below show, the colours typically used to create Adire garments were white and indigo blue.

(Image source: https://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/image/223536~adire.jpg )

Today, Adire can be worn with a modern twist. The TDARE Batik skirt and TDARE smart casual Batik trousers, shown below, can be worn with anything to create a look suitable for the office, a party, or a summer’s day. The Adire influence is clear as these garments retain the design authenticity and beautiful colour scheme in line with Adire clothing that we would have seen in the past, but the skirt and trousers fresh design mean that they can be worn anywhere – the possibilities for mixing and matching are endless!

The TDARE Batik Skirt Available now

The TDARE Batik Trousers Available now

Ankara is a rich, colourful and unique material. Ankara has a complicated history and it is believed that Ankara was originally manufactured by the Dutch for the Indonesian textile market, and then later diverted to West Africa, the region with which it is now primarily associated! Of course, Ankara is still very popular but the way we wear it has definitely evolved.

Check out these women in the 1960s, showcasing bold patterns and shapes on their dresses...

(Image source: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/860609810016454872/ )

Decades later, we are able to be even more creative with Ankara and apply it to a much wider range of dress designs. TDARE’s African Print Fitted and Flare Mini Dress showcases the best aspects of contemporary African design; colourful with a unique pattern but simultaneously perfect for a summer cocktail party. It’s a lot shorter and sharper than the dresses which were more fashionable in the past, allowing the wearer to really express their personality.

TDARE Ankara Fitted Dress Available now

Similarly we can see how men's ankara fashion has developed in similar ways to women's - look at these colourful outfits from the 1970s...


Back to the present day, this formal party shirt shows how traditional Ankara prints can be worn now by men. Here, we can still see the original emotive colours, including the dark blue and yellow. This shirt takes its lead from classic Ankara designs, but with an innovative and modern edge – making it perfect for special occasions – the shirt can even be paired with matching trousers from TDARE to complete a head-turning look!

TDARE African Men Embroidered Shirt Suit Available now

Now we have looked at just a couple of examples of how African fashion has evolved, you can see loads more ideas and get outfit inspiration at https://www.tdare.co.uk - where you'll find tonnes more modern ethnic designs for men and women...


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