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  • Writer's picturecalyciousloves

African Print In Fashion: Outfit and Style Ideas

As a Malawian girl, born and raised, you are first introduced to the African print fabric in the form of a Chitenje.

Happy Africa Day – 60 years on after the founding of the African Union in 1963. One thing I love about Africa is the culture which brings us to fashion because, here, I love me some good sense of style. And we cannot talk African fashion without the African print fabric. African print in fashion: outfit and style ideas.

Maxi African print dress, tie and dye fabric, yellow and purple, wax fabric, stiff African print wax
Tie and Dye African Fabric

My mother was the first person who introduced me to African print outfits, I remember my first sewn outfit as a grown up vividly [when we were young my siblings would get Christmas matching outfits sewn]. I was in Malawi in secondary school, form 1, I know this because I have pictures of it somewhere LOL. It was a blue floral print with birds around it. I do not want to blow my own trumpet but it was stunning, if you saw it would agree, take my word for it.

As an African girl, born and raised, you are first introduced to the African print in the form of a Chitenje [in Chichewa Malawi native], African wrapper or Kitenge [in Swahili] – a 2-metre fabric commonly worn around the waist by women in Africa anytime of the day. I was not particularly drawn to wearing it unless I was doing chores or at home doing nothing.

African wrapper is commonly worn around the waist in Africa,  wrapper, wax fabric
African wrapper, chitenje

Did you know African prints have Dutch not African origins? They were first introduced to the continent in Ghana by Vlisco. One of the materials Vlisco produces is the Hollandais Wax which is a wax fabric with one or 2 core colours mirroring each other. The fabric prints and patterns are influenced by African culture hence African print. To be honest, I personally think we Africans know how to wear the fire out of these fabrics hence African print right?

Most Malawian women will have an African print fabric sewn outfit: for the office, corporate or work functions, weddings, church and even funerals. My mother had several for each occasion and it only made sense that she gifted me any excess material she had for me to sew my own. Of course, my style of choice was less conservative than hers, it was a bandeau dress here, a one-shoulder top and a mini skirt there. This was an opportunity for me to express my sense of style and that is one thing I love about African print outfits; you can sew whatever style you like. You just need good fabric and a good tailor/seamstress. I have loved making African print outfits ever since.

African print headband and detachable sleeves, balloon sleeves, purpand blue.
African Print Headband

If you love fashion and style and you do not have an African print outfit, you might want to give it a goal. It definitely sets the African fashion scene and can be seen setting trends world wide.

If you are new to African print outfits, it can be daunting to figure out how to start, what outfit to sew and style but worry not, I got you. We all need inspiration from somewhere, just like before the automobile on 4 wheels, there were horses .

First, if you are vibing with my style which encompasses modern, stylish, comfort, fun and elegance [we love to balance things over here] then let me be your inspiration. Below are pictures of 8 African print style ideas, from dresses to suits and co-ord sets. Alternatively, you can find outfit and style inspirations on Vlisco, Pinterest and Instagram.

Once youhave your African print outfit made, remember to wear it with the right attitude PRIDE. XOXO

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