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What Is Dashiki? African Wax Print Fabric Explained

What Is Dashiki? African Wax Print Fabric Explained

Dashiki or Danshiki! It doesn't matter what you call it. I keep hearing about African Dashiki shirts and even Dashiki dresses! African wax print has a rich history within West African fashion. The word ‘dashiki’ hails from the word “danshiki” and “dan ciki” and is loosely translated as “man’s shirt”. As a loose-fitting garment made of light fabric, it’s perfect for wearing in Africa’s intense heat.

But, what is Dashiki? How is Dashiki made? and what does Dashiki wax print fabric represent? We can answer all your questions and thoughts on African dashiki wax print fabric.

Where is Dashiki Wax Print From?

The dashiki is a unisex piece which is particularly popular during Februarys Black History Month, Kwanzaa and other African cultural periods. It was popularized in the late 1960s when its modern name was coined and mass production began. Originating out of Harlem, NY, it continues to be one of the most prominent pieces of clothing worn by African-Americans to celebrate their heritage.

In image: @iammellemichelle

The Traditional Wax Print Fabric

The dashiki wax print is predominantly worn in West Africa; however, has made its way into mass culture and can be worn in many ways as an oversized shirt to a full-length dress. Its popularity in western culture, particularly as a street wear piece, has been seen on the likes of many hip hop and R&B artists, celebrities and actors from Rihanna to Beyoncé to Chris Brown. The most popular dashiki style is the Angelina print which features an assortment of vibrant colours based on the design of Ethiopian noblewomen of the 19th century.

The dashiki represents a cultural connection to Africa and deep-rooted pride within the community. The influence of historical symbols and their incorporation into the cloth makes creating a dashiki a cultural statement.

Dashiki clothing represents a cultural connection to Africa and deep-rooted pride within the community. This is enhanced by the influence of historical symbols wearing the cloth - wearing dashiki is a cultural statement.

How is a Dashiki Wax Print Fabric made?

Representing African culture, solidarity and a respect for traditional folk craft, a dashiki is relatively easy to create and can be adapted to a variety of fabrics. A dashiki; however, has the most meaning when made with African textiles, in particular, kente cloth.

Here are some of Grass-fields favourite Dashiki pieces:

Want to see more? We’d recommend seeing our Dashiki Details board on Pinterest! Or sign up for our newsletter for more news, facts and tips on African fashion.

Need more? Check out Top 10 African Wax Print Fabrics For Summer.

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