African Kente cloth
A bold and colorful design woven in strips, Kente cloth was once the fabric of kings, but its widespread popularity in the western hemisphere came as a result of the Afrocentric celebration of modern-day America.
Traditional Kente is a rough-woven fabric that tells a story in its colors and designs, renowned for its bold geometric patterns and bright colors. Unlike many cultures that leave handicrafts to women, Kente cloth is designed and woven by men, traditionally made by the Asante peoples of Ghana and the Ewes of Togo. A complicated process of dense designs, Kente is woven in small strips that can then be woven together to create a piece of cloth, which in turn can be made into clothing. Real Kente remains a ceremonial outfit for many Africans, much like western formal wear.
In the west, as African-Americans of the late 80's and early 90' returned to their roots, many outfitted themselves in Kente printed cloth made in the traditional style dress. Printed Kente designs on plain woven materials became a less expensive alternative to the traditional cloth, and a way for African-Americans to show off their African heritage. Now acceptable for everyday wear, the design is seen on everything from apparel to accessories, and remains a highly recognizable symbol of African pride.
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