As the African fashion industry continues to grow, people are left with no choice but to embrace it wholeheartedly through blending it with Western fashion or accepting it in its entirety. Basically, there are two major ways of creating this blend: either by the use of African fabrics to create foreign designs like suits, for instance, or the use of these indigenous fabrics to further beautify hoodies, jackets, T-shirts and other streetwear pieces. This is called Afro-Urban fashion and it is born out of the need to promote Africanism in an urban way.
In essence, Afro-urban fashion is a fusion of Afrocentric and urban fashion to create streetwear pieces that best portray the versatility of the African culture. To further understand the intricacies of Afro-urban fashion, the two concepts that make up the coinage need to be defined.
This refers to fashion that pays attention to the African history and perspective. Afrocentricity basically means negritude as founded by Aimé Césaire and Léopold Sédar Senghor, president of Senegal and poet. They used the term “negritude” to describe the effects of Western colonization upon black people without any reference to their culture, language, or place.
Afrocentric clothing features long-established textiles, selected apparel motifs, production and cutting methods peculiar to Africa. Although some people argue that Afrocentricism embeds western culture, it still pays particular details to Africanism and portrays it. Attires such as Dashiki, Batik, Kente, Abacos (Mao-styled suit), Kanga, wraps, and Buba are Afrocentric fashion.
Otherwise known as street style, urban fashion is known to have emerged from the grass roots. It is associated with youth pop culture and it keeps getting more popular by the day. Generally, urban fashion features denim trousers and jackets, T-shirts, hippies, baggy pants, skinny jeans, sneakers, beanies, shorts, ripped jeans, sunglasses, etc. In Nigeria, fashion brands like NACK Apparel produce urban fashion pieces for street style lovers.
By blending African textiles with street style, Afro-urban fashion creates a cultural connection to both African and Western fashion.
Expressions of Afro-urban Fashion
Many fashion designers have been expressing Afro-urban in various ways. The most popular is fusing African fabrics with ready-made street style.
One way is to use any African fabric, for example, ankara fabric to create street style pieces. Another is adding a touch of these fabrics to the sleeves, pocket, collar or other intricate parts of the clothing. Furthermore, the fabrics can as well be used to craft out shapes and images which would further emphasise Afrocentricity. A perfect example is crafting out the map of Africa with the fabric and attaching it to the centre of the T-shirt. This not only beautifies erstwhile plain and dull outfits but also adds more accents to it.
Styling Afro-Urban Fashion
You can style Afro-urban fashion with sneakers preferably to highlight its urban features or simply go for any befitting pair of shoes that suit your style. Then wrap it up with the right accessories which would hit differently if they are made with Afrocentric fabrics.
As long as it remains stylish, people will keep making use of African fabrics to create their streetwear pieces giving it an urban African look. You shouldn’t be left out too. Afro-urban fashion is making waves and taking over the street. You should have a piece in your wardrobe, don’t you think? But first, let’s know what you think of Afro-urban fashion. Drop a comment please so we can share in your thoughts.