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Glossary

 

Ankara Print
If you think about african fashion, you think of Ankara Print. The colorful, often large-sized and fanciful patterns were tradionally worn for special occasions (weddings, etc.). The patterns had to tell the story and status of its wearer. Today those limits are history. There are styles for everybody and all imaginable combinations of patterns and colours. No matter if we're talking caps, clutches, shoes, dresses or trousers for men and suits: without Ankara Print there is no African fashion.

Boubou
Traditional african men's garment of islamic origin. It usually has three parts and reaches down to the ankles. It consists of a trouser, a wide, long-sleeved shirt and a gown. Though originally reserved for men there are now also variants that are popular with women.  The boubou is the origin of the kaftan.

Buba
A lady's blouse. In Africa this is often worn as part of a wrapper.

Cowry shells
Beautiful naturally polished shells that were once used as currency and now as jewellery.  There is a long african tradition of using cowry shells to decorate garments and houses. Their smooth oval shape lends itself easily to the creation of pretty geometric patterns.

Damask/Bazin
Damask, in frenchspeaking countries known as "Bazin", is a special technique of texturing only  high quality, smooth, glossy and keen fabrics like silk, linen or mercerized cotton.  This is because the threads are under a strong tractive force while weaving the special patterns. Mandatory for Damask are the woven patterns most in the same colour, which show nice effects with special incidents of lights.

Kanga
Rectangular piece of colorful cloth that is about 1m long and 1.5m wide. It is folded and wrapped around the waist, or used as a baby sling. Just like Kitenge it is very common in east Africa. It is often imprinted with large patterns and contains a proverb or some other message or slogan.

Kente
Kente is a hand-woven noble fabric made from cotton or silk. The art of kente creation originated in Ghana and the Ivory Coast and for a long time only a few chosen weavers were allowed to practice it. Kente is the basis of garments and hats and was once reserved for kings and used in sacred rituals. Its famous patterns can be both geometric and pictorial. New motives are still being created and presented at important events (e.g., after political elections).

Kitenge
Kitenge (also known as Chitenge) is a thick, colored cloth that is mainly processed in Kenia, Tansania, Uganda, Sudan and Somalia. The Khanga and Kitenge fashion started in the 18th century in Zanzibar.

Kikoy (Kikoi auf Swahili)
A piece of cloth that is worn around the hip or neck. It's the african version of the sarong and was pioneered by Swahili sailors. Though originally single-colored there are now multi-color versions with stripes and patterns.

Peblum
An overskirt derived from the greek peplos which is worn on top of a petticoat or over another shirt. A playful style that flatters the waist and looks good with pencil-skirts and tight blouses.

Sequin clothing
Fabric that has sequins attached or is interleaved with glittering threads.

Sisal
Strands of Sisal are produced from Agave, which is domiciled in the Latin Americas. It is characterized by its extraordinary high consistency. This natural product is used since the beginnings of ninetieth century and has become popular all over the the world in the meanwhile.
africsalon presents an exclusive collection of earrings made of Sisal from the label Ikanzu Designs & Accessories by Suhaa Schmitz.