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Information About African Dashiki

Samarpita Choudhury
Tradition is an assimilation of many things that are part of a culture. Amongst these many things, attire that reflects the nuances of a tradition are at the helm. Dashiki is one such African traditional outfit, which is considered to be more than merely an outfit. Historyplex aspires to unearth the mystery and history of Dashiki.

Feminine Touch

Dashikis gained popularity essentially as a part of men's clothing, but over the years, women have taken dashikis to a new level of style. They have elegantly designed it as tops, dresses, and skirts.
Every tradition and race boasts of its own legacy and ethnicity. Prior to the adoption of the English style of wearing outfits, the Asian, the Middle East, and the African continents adorned their unique style of dressing, with a touch of their traditional designs and styles.
Dashiki, which hails from the western part of Africa, is a class apart, and has a niche in all ceremonies, rituals, and rites. The traditional ceremonies like the Black History Month often set a traditional dress code for the members. There are many who mark the event by wearing a dashiki.
After all, this is deeply rooted in the African culture and tradition. But the purpose of dashiki is not just the cultural sentiments; it is also the comfort that it imparts. Owing to the loose fitting of this garment and the kind of fabric that is used, dashikis are overtly comfortable.
Dashiki is one of the key representatives of the Black culture and Black community as whole. It was a silent yet powerful repulsion against the immense popularity of the westernized sense and style of dressing. Dashikis made a mark in the US during the 1960s of the last millennium, when there was widespread turmoil regarding racism.


Dashiki is so immensely popular that it is worn in the US, countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean etc. The history of dashiki has its roots in Africa. This artistic attire was first introduced in West Africa. The countries which wore dashikis were Nigeria, Togo, Benin, and Ghana. The word 'dashiki' is the Yoruban version of 'shirt'.
Yoruba is a language of the Kwa group & is 1 of the 4 official languages of Nigeria, the other 3 being English, Hausa and Igbo . In Yoruba language, dashiki is pronounced as 'dàńṣíkí' & in Hausa, it is pronounced as 'dán cíkí'. Dashiki has many variations & dress patterns, which would be the subject of discussion in the subsequent sections of the story.


One can with ease find a Dashiki shirt from a heap of other outfits. It is easily recognizable because of its loose appearance of a tunic.
The colors that are used in dashikis are loud and gaudy. The sleeves are loose and wavy. The neckline is usually V-shaped, though there are variations that have been introduced.
There is heavy embroidery work done on the neckline and the sleeves. The dashiki doesn't have any buttons, unlike the normal shirts, and it covers the chest, just like shirts.
The best part of dashiki is that it can be carried off well both as a casual outfit or a formal attire. It equally suits the young, boyish look, as well as the mature, serious demeanor.

Young Boy in Dashiki

Matured Man in Dashiki

Dashikis are available in multiple lengths. The ones that are higher than the knee and fall till the thigh are known as Senegalese. There is another variety that consists of the top, draw string pants, and a robe that is worn on the top. This variety is known as Grand Boubou or Babariga.
The ideal way of wearing a dashiki is that it should be loose fitting, and it shouldn't be tucked inside the trousers.


Well, talking about the patterns, dashiki bears some spectacular embroidery designs that are a delight for the spectator, as well as the bearer of the outfit.
The patterns may be light and fancy or could also be heavy, deep, and detailed. The areas that are highlighted in the patterns are the neck, chest, and sleeves.
The designs strictly adhere to the traditional folk art of the Africans. It should be a total embodiment of the true African culture. The designs also highlight the African symbols and elements.
The fabric could be cotton, silk, or the traditional African kente fabric. It comes in lace, brocade, and also in suitings fabric.

Dashiki Pattern on Brown Fabric

Dashiki Pattern on Gray Fabric

Dashiki Pattern on White Fabric


Kwanzaa is a traditional African festival that is celebrated in the month of December. During this festival, Dashiki is worn and flaunted by both men and women alike. The colors that are chosen to during this festival are in the shades of red, black, and green.
Men choose to wear the Dashiki over a pair of trousers, with a headgear called Kufi. However, Kufi is optional.
Though women have a range of other options to choose from in order to deck up for the Kwanzaa festival, they also wear dashiki, paired with a skirt. There are also Dashiki skirts available for women.

Green Dashiki

Red Black Dashiki


Dashiki is also a popular wedding outfit. The dashiki colors that are usually chosen for wedding purposes are mostly in shades of blue and purple. Purple and its shades like lavender represent royalty in African culture. The blue color denotes harmony, eternal love, and marital bliss. But other variations are also included to suffice the visual appeal of the ceremony.

Dashiki with Kufi

Lavender Dashiki

Dashiki is so integral for the African community that it also forms a part of the mourning ceremony. The colors that are usually preferred for the funeral are black and red. In the concluding lines, it's worth mentioning that wearing dashikis only during festivals and ceremonies shouldn't be the popular trend.
In fact, it could be easily worn on a daily basis for the comfortable texture it has and the exquisite design it exhibits.