AFRICA WITH COLOR
Fashion club #NAMA, lead by Stacy Oswald
Written and edited by Stacy Oswald
The beauties in Africa is almost everywhere you turn, the trees are super green, the flowers are very colorful, the people add an extra color with their welcoming hearts and big smiles however, for centuries Africans have found ways to connect the colorful nature of their environment to what they wear and carry.
I see a big cultural difference with the current Bulgarian fashion industry, of course they have designers doing color but most that i have observed pick either very few colors in their patterns or no color оr all (black and white do not count), I love how they give this pattern a powerful look at the end but that does not leave me off the hook, most people are always asking me why Africans use so many colors or how they can manage to put together so many colors and actually present one look.
I never really noticed that until I was asked this question so many times by a lot of different people.
It is true, most of our fabrics are very colorful, we call them “Khanga” for the light weighted ones and “Vitenge” for the heavy fabrics. All fabrics are made with colorful motifs usually the textile designers tell a certain story through it.
With Khanga’s there is usually a message near the border of the fabric and that is how you can tell the difference apart from weight between the two mentioned fabrics and of course we have “batiks” locally produced also with different color patterns and motifs but my personal favorite are the mats, we call the “Mkeka” for singular or “Mikeka” for plural.
These are usually barks of plants usually creamish brown before colored, they are pleated and thereafter they are colored with again different patterns and motifs. Why they are one of my personal favorite colorful African item is because they are so comfortable to sleep on and you can use them in whatever context, outdoor, for decoration, really however.
I cannot exactly give a more precise reason as to why most of our clothes and accessories are so colorful, but I do know it is all about reflecting to our environment and referring to it as beauty.
As a substitute to this topic, I decided to do a mini-photo shoot, mostly I could manage to associate the look with head wraps and the background. In this shoot, I consulted my friend “Luc Noel Ingabire” with his photography signature “Agafoto” for this particular theme and the results were amazing.
This photo constitutes of a “batik” that I used as a head wrap, a “khanga” as the top, and the purple background is a “Mkeka” and of course the beautiful Afro braids.
In this shoot, we mixed two different ”Mikeka” and a normal shirt dress with a “Mtandio” for a head wrap, this material is almost like a “Khanga” just more light weighted compared to a “Khanga”
Model in this shoot: Stacy Oswald (on Instagram as@stacyphillipo)
Photographer: Luc Noel Ingabire (on Instagram as @LucNoelIngabire)
Wardrobe, make-up and styling by: Stacy Oswald
Background by: Nakato Rachael
I also managed to snatch some of my “model” friend’s pictures from his photo shoot…
Model in this shoot: Chady Black ( On Instagram as @chady_black)
Theme: VAB: Vintage Afro Boy
The rubric “My opinion” happen under the project “Art and Culture for Unity”
with financial support of European program “Erasmus+”, Key Action 2: Capacity building in the field of youth