Dashiki for men is one of the colorful fashions worn by most men from West Africa. In East Africa, it is called another name different from what it is known as in West Africa, and that’s Kitenge. Dashiki is a trending fashion in some countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, etc. In Indonesia, it is called Java, likewise in some other countries. There are different versions to this Dashiki for men because it has both the formal and informal version.
The name dashiki is being derived from a Yoruba word dàńṣíkí, and in the Hausa language, it means inner garment or shirt. This fashion can appear in various styles, and they can be either embroidery neck, loose-fitting, ornament V-shaped collar, or sleeve lines. Some fashion designers or stylists have also created adoring outfits. This dress can be worn with a brimless Kufi cap, and pant trouser to add some spice to it.
The Origin of Dashiki
The word Dashiki pronounced ‘dan-Shiki’ or ‘dan-ciki’ can be traced back to West Africa based on the humid climate. As a result of this hot temperature, loose apparel made from light fabric was used in producing this garment. The main reason was to allow people in this region to enjoy the fresh air while walking on the road. Since the dashiki is made of light fabrics, it helps to prevent heat.
The good thing about dashiki can be worn as a casual dress too and most of the designs come with a V-neckline shape. The V-neckline is often embroidered with different designs made by a fashion designer, and this makes it possible for it to be worn with either a pair of jeans, chinos, or pant trousers. In countries like Benin, Togo, Nigeria, and Ghana, it is seen as a signature dress or fashion.
Different Versions of Dashiki
There are two different versions of a dashiki, and they are:
- Formal version
- Informal version
The formal version comprises three different types, while the informal version is made up of only one type.
1. Formal Version of Dashiki:
The following is the formal versions of Dashiki:
- Dashiki suit
- Senegalese Kaftan
1. Dashiki Suit:
This is a style in dashiki that comprises dashiki, drawstring trouser, and a Kufi cap. Some designers can even add embroidery in different areas of the dashiki such as sleeves, necklines, and chests. There are lots of grooms who have worn this dashiki suit to weddings, and still have a touch of elegance. The main thing is having a fashion designer to bring out well-tailored and smooth fittings of this dashiki suit.
It is one of the recognized African suits won in Africa with numerous patterns. The dashiki doesn’t need to follow one pattern or style. Generally, the shirt of a dashiki has to be lengthy at least close to the knee, and it can either be short sleeve or long sleeve. This style is still in vogue worn by renowned African celebrities on numerous fashion events.
2. Senegalese Kaftan:
This Kaftan comes with an ankle-length shirt, drawing trouser, and a Kufi cap. This is a long garment having long bell sleeves. Different materials can be used in sewing Senegalese Kaftans such as lace, synthetic fabrics, and brocade. In most West African countries, it is being seen as formal wear to special occasions.
In the Northern parts of Nigeria, it is worn by men a to weddings, naming ceremonies, and other occasions. In the U.S, it is one of the three formal suits that have close similarities to the tuxedo worn by African American grooms. This Kaftan comes in various styles and patterns depending on the fashion designer sewing it.
This is a free-flowing wide sleeve garment worn by most people in Western and Northern Africa. In Africa, it has diverse names by different ethnic groups such as Agbada in Yoruba language, babban Riga in Hausa language, gandora in Tuareg, gown in English language, and many others. It is being designed with embroidery and can be worn on different ceremonial occasions.
Initially, it was seen as an apparel for chiefs such as the Susu of Guinea, the Dagomba of Ghana, the Yoruba of Nigeria, the Mandinka of Ghana, etc. Presently, it has become popular attire among people in diverse classes, and this cuts across various races in Africa such as among the Bantu people in Southern, Central, and Eastern Africa.
The informal version of dashiki comprises an embroidered dashiki or traditional print, and here they are:
How the Dashiki for Men Inspired Pop Culture?
In the early 1960s, this radical garment entered the United States of America through the Peace Corps who came to Africa to offer voluntary services for people living in this region. As a result of their volunteering services, they were offered dashiki as souvenirs, and the garment was admired by lots of individuals.
The idea of making it popular was brought up by a couple living in New York known as Jason and Mable Benning. Jason was a professor who lectured in Queens College where he taught Negro history. He heard many stories about his roots; therefore, he left his job to start a clothing line called ‘New Breed Clothing’.
Jason was in charge of the management side of the business, and operations, while his wife who happens to be a seamstress was the person sewing all the dashikis. As time progressed in their fashion business, they both decided to make use of other top personalities, and fashion designers to make this garment popular such as William Smith, a fashion designer, Em Bryant, an ex-basketballer, Howard Davis, a renowned shoe designer, and lots more.
Male Celebrities Influenced by Dashiki for Men
There are lots of male celebrities who have worn dashikis either as casual or formal wear. Since the 1960s, this apparel was made known in the U.S, and it is still gaining more grounds. Different celebrities such as public figures, musicians, actors, models, etc, who have some roots that can be traced back to Africa are wearing this cloth to depict their culture.
These celebrities are making this dashiki for men to become a fashion statement even for people from other races such as Caucasoids and Mongloids. Fashion designers are creating more unique styles with vibrant colors that are appealing to celebrities to wear to different occasions and even entertainment awards.
More Dashiki Styles
Dashiki for men is still the trending wear that is worn to any kind of occasion depending on the pattern it is being sewn either as a dashiki suit, Senegalese Kaftan, or Agbada. Buying the material is not a problem, because there are various markets to buy them either in local or international markets.