Hey Online Fam!
After a brief hiatus, the Daily Fashion Fix is back with another of my favorite global textiles .. Kente cloth!
Long touted at the pinnacle of West African design and textiles, as we previously discussed with ankara fabric, kente cloth is experiencing a fashion renaissance as a new generation of globally conscious millennials and GenZers embrace their various forms of cultural identity.
Case in point, to honor my own royal Ashanti tribe roots, I often like to pay homage from time to time by styling my own personal looks with bits of kente. In this week's look, I'm wearing a classic kente cloth top, styled with a chic modern twist
With its increased popularity in the fashion landscape, let's have a brief chat about what kente cloth actually is .. And more importantly? What it's not.
Most notably seen in the Akan tribes of Ghana, true kente cloth was originally worn exclusively by royal families and statesmen. Each color and pattern denoted key moments in social life such as weddings or funerals. In today's modern society, the role of kente cloth is equally as significant and respected, while the practice of crafting yards of authentic fabric remains nearly unchanged after hundreds of years.
What HAS changed, in recent years is the emergence of what is now called "kente print." Often confused for authentic kente cloth, the less exclusive "kente print" differs in three key ways:
1) Where authentic kente cloth, as seen in today's fashion look, is made traditionally via hand-weaving on a loom by artisans ... "Kente print" is mass produced in factories which mearly duplicate the traditional design.
2) The "kente print" is MUCH lighter in weight as patterns are often duplicated onto cheaper or more accessible fabrics such as cotton. In comparison, yards of traditional kente cloth have a bit of heft and much thicker texture. For comparison, think of a cotton t-shirt vs. woven burlap feel.
3) The price point for authentic kente cloth is much higher than regular kente print. That said, if the item you're buying doesn't meet the above criteria and/or your purchasing for your kente Stateside for anything less than $100? Chances are you're buying kente print, rather than authentic woven cloth.
In all, as someone who personally advocates for shopping authentic when possible, I get it .. For many, purchasing kente print sometimes boils down to simply being more financially accessible. While it feels amazing to own true kente cloth, supporting local vendors selling beautiful reproductions of kente print can be just as rewarding. It's all a matter of shopping as fully informed customers and knowing exactly what you're actually purchasing.
To learn more about traditional kente cloth, click on the following video!
Alright loves, that’s all for now. Till next time? The Journey Continues!