Story Behind The Radical Garment “Dashiki”

No one has forgotten the roots of this garment as it is an African product. It is a symbol of significance no matter where it has been modeled. If you go through African history, you will find the role of Dashiki in several movements. You will also get to know how it gained political potency. African Americans adopted this garment to show their rejection to western cultural norms. This is when dashiki became a symbol of Black pride. It moved beyond style and functionality and became illustrative of black beauty. The dashiki, whether worn in Washington D.C. or Lagos is loudly and proudly black.

With time, the political vigor of the dashiki started fading away. It was now becoming popular among counterculture groups. They adopted this garment with open hearts due to its aesthetic appeal. Many retailers started promoting African products throughout the world and dashiki was one of them. Africa Imports is also one such supporter of African culture and traditions. At Africa Imports, we support African people in the villages and small towns. These people still preserve rich African culture.

At Kushiaa, we provide traditional African fabrics, jewelry, and other products. We offer African clothing and hard to find ideas at your fingertips. We offer all kinds of Afrocentric products available to customers worldwide. The aim to make every individual from every corner of the world aware of the richness of African products. We want to show them how much time and effort African craftsmen spend to create a single product. Their efforts should be appreciated. So, we dedicate our store to those craftsmen and their families.

Dashiki: A colorful African Inspired Garment

A dashiki is a loose-fitting, pullover shirt. It is usually made from colorful, African-inspired fabrics or cotton prints. It often consists of a patch pocket and embroidery at the cuffs and neckline. The dashiki was seen in American fashion during the 1960s. They were embraced by the black pride and white counterculture movements. The dashiki appeared in the American ethnic fashion catalog. It along with other Afrocentric clothing lines became popular.

As already mentioned, “Dashiki” has been originated the word danshiki in the  Yoruba interpretation. The Yoruba loaned out this word from the Hausa dan ciki which means “underneath”. It refers to a short tunic worn by males under larger robes. The Yoruba danshiki was a work garment that was at first sewed from hand-woven strip cloth. It had deep-cut openings with pockets below. It had four gussets to produce a flare at the hem. These tunics are like those found in Dogon burial caves in Mali date to the 12th and 13th centuries (Bolland).

In many parts of West Africa, tunics are still worn with matching trousers as street clothes. These tunics made from hand-or machine-woven textiles. It is a unisex garment these days. The American dashiki diverges from a common pullover shirt to a sleeveless tunic or Kaftan with short or hanging bat sleeves. Both genders can wear this shirt. Whereas women wear short or full-length dashiki dresses.

Meaning Of Colors Used In Dashiki

Colors of wholesale dashikis were made to characterize different emotions and events. For example, in the past, white dashikis were worn by grooms on their wedding day. Nowadays, couples choose to wear purple for their wedding. Purple is the color of African royalty. Some also wear blue dashiki as this color is known as the color of love, peace, and harmony.

There was a concept behind adding colors to dashiki or its fabric in the past. Its fabrication was not limited to make a garment look attractive. Though it was one of the reasons, but there is much more than that. In fact, colors are important in African culture. They have some meaning and emotion behind them. Every single color used in dashiki has its own symbolic meaning. Check out the meaning behind each one of these colors used in a dashiki.

  • Black: It represents spiritual energy and maturity. It is used in funeral rites and mourning.

  • Blue: It depicts love, peace, togetherness, and harmony.

  • Gold: It characterizes wealth in several forms- high status, monetary wealth & royalty. It also represents fertility and spiritual purity.

  • Green: Green is a symbol of growth. Both spiritual growth, and also the growth of land, harvest, vegetation, and crops.

  • Grey: This color symbolizes ash as well as cleansing & healing rituals.

  • Maroon: It is the color of Mother Earth that also represents healing.

  • Pink: It also represents feminine qualities, including gentleness.

  • Purple: It is worn by women. This color is associated with femininity.

  • Red: This color depicts sacrificial rites, bloodshed, and death. But it also represents spiritual and political moods.

  • Silver: It is associated with the moon, peace, purity, and joy.

  • White: It is used on festive occasions and represents purity and cleanliness.

  • Yellow: It has a similar meaning that is associated with gold. But it also includes beauty and preciousness.

Whenever you choose a colorful dashiki next time, you must pay attention to the colors. When you know what color symbolizes, you can find the perfect dashiki for any occasion.

African patterns

Africa is very rich in patterns. You can see the repetition of shapes and textures. You could also see lines that are placed in different forms of arrangement. People wear clothing with African prints on festivals and special occasions in Africa. One can visualize and conceptualize the African patterns. There are two types of African patterns, that is geometric and symbolic.

Geometric: These are the linear type such as triangles, spirals, dots, curved lines, circles, and diamonds, among others.

Symbolic: These are the natural or human-made patterns. They signify particular designs. It includes stars, fruits, flowers, seeds, and cruciform, among others.

Different Versions Of Dashiki

The informal version of dashiki is a traditional print or embroidered dashiki. Apart from this, there are 3 formal versions of a dashiki.

  1. The first type comprises a dashiki, Sokoto (drawstring trousers), and a matching kufi. This style is known as a dashiki suit or dashiki trouser set. It is an outfit worn by the groom during wedding ceremonies.

  2. The second version comprises an ankle-length shirt, matching Sokoto and kufi. The second style is known as Senegalese kaftan or a robe.

  3. The Tribal chiefs, Nigerians, or Muslims only wear the third type. It comprises of a dashiki and matching trousers. A flowing gown is worn over them. This type is named a Grand boubou in several Francophone countries. In America, it is called an Agbada.

There are many styles of dashiki suits available at traditional clothing stores. The traditional dashiki suit consists of a thigh-length shirt with a short sleeve and a traditional style. But, a long dashiki suit comprises of a shirt that is knee-length or longer. Though, if the shirt extends to the ankles, it is called Senegalese kaftan or a robe. Finally, the lace dashiki suit consists of a shirt made of lace.

Dashiki Fabric

Dashiki fabric is 100% cotton, with a width of 45 inches. The width makes it suitable to produce unisex clothing for people of all sizes using this fabric. Also, the dashiki fabric is made of unwaxed ground. It comes with convenience bringing to life the complex design details of the fabric. It is made possible by saturating the fabric’s colors.

It is also known as Angelina print. You may find dashiki fabric with beautiful designs and patterns. These originate from West African culture. The 45 inches wide base is ideal to make shirts size measuring approximately 36/37″ in height and 45″ wide. You can witness the detailed designs to the life of the unwaxed cotton ground. The Dashiki design is printed with accuracy to reiterate every 2 yards. This fabric is breathable and perfect to be worn in the warm summer months!

Many manufacturers get this fabric from the craftsmen. They make urban and cultural unisex Dashiki shirts. They use the cotton dashiki fabric to form other traditional African garments. All you need to do is a simple cut and straight stitch. You can do it by hand or machine. At last, you will get a great dashiki made from stunning fabric. Adding it to your wardrobe would definitely enhance your sense of style!

The Dashiki print fabric is sold by the panel. Each panel measures approximately 2 yards which are enough to make 1 Dashiki shirt. As always, there is no minimum order quantity. We have thousands of yards in stock. Get wholesale dashiki fabric at discounted rates. We also ready dashiki garments as well. place your bulk orders and avail the benefits.

Comment Rules

  • Please show respect to the opinions of others no matter how seemingly far-fetched.
  • Abusive, foul language, and/or divisive comments may be deleted without notice.
  • Each blog member is allowed limited comments, as displayed above the comment box.
  • Comments must be limited to the number of words displayed above the comment box.
  • Please limit one comment after any comment posted per post.