African clothing is the traditional clothing worn by the peoples of Africa. In all instances except rural areas these traditional garments have been replaced by Western clothing introduced by European colonialists.

African clothing and fashion is a diverse topic that is able to provide a look into different African cultures. Clothing varies from brightly colored textiles, to abstractly embroidered robes, to colorful beaded bracelets and necklaces. Since Africa is such a large and diverse continent, traditional clothing differs throughout each country. For example, many countries in West Africa have a “distinct regional dress styles that are the products of long-standing textile crafts in weaving, dyeing, and printing”, but these traditions are still able to coexist with western styles. A large contrast in African fashion is between rural and urban societies. Urban societies typically are exposed more to trade and the changing world, while it takes more time for new western trends to get to rural areas. People in Africa wear traditional cultural clothing

European influence is commonly found in African fashion as well. For example, Ugandan men have started to wear “full length trousers and long-sleeved shirts”. On the other hand, women have started to adapt influences from “nineteenth-century Victorian dress”. These styles include: “long sleeves and puffed shoulders, a full skirt, and commonly a colorful bow tied around the waist”. This style of dress is called a busuti. Another popular trend is to pair a piece of modern western clothing, such as T-shirts, with traditional wraps. Rural communities have also started to incorporate secondhand clothing/western clothing into their everyday style too. For example, rural Zambian women have started to combine “secondhand clothing with a single two-yard length of chitengi that was used as a wrapper over the dress”. With the globalization of western clothing influence from urban to rural areas, it has now become more common to find people wearing a variety of styles of clothes.

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