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What Is A Dashiki?
A dashiki is an ethnic African attire that is often seen as a loose-fitting shirt that is tradionally collarless and at hip length. While that may have been true at a certain period of time, Dashikis are now becoming much more versatile. They are now being seen in Skirts, Pants, Jackets and are no longer loose-fitting yet they retain their ethnic value due to their East and West African designs.
How A Dashiki Is Made
Dashikis are often derived from East and West Africa, however many of our dashikis are handwoven from artisans in Kenya and other parts of Africa. These artisans sepcialize in African apparel. Each shirt takes hours of work to reproduce
History Of The Dashiki
Unknown to many, the dashiki actually originated from West Africa annd was introduced to the United Stated by returning Peave Corp volunteers! It was during the 1960s, when the vicil rights movement was at it's peak, when African centric fashion such as the dashiki became an expression and symbol of black identiy and cultural identity. The dashiki transformed from a simple colorful garment to a symbolic garment which represented racial equality and a way to unite those suppressed and fight for freedom.
Did you know that even the colors found on traditional Dashikis have value and meaning? It's true! Colors such as gold and yellow represent wealth , royalty, and prestige. White is usually reserved for weddings and other religious events. Black represents power and seen worn by high ranking officials.
many of you must be wondering how Dashikis started selling in the United States? Well, they were first introduced as a fashion item when worn by residents in Harlem, New York. They quickly picked up popularty as those who did not want to wear the black uniform of the Black Panthers, instead choose the dashiki as a non violent garment to represent and promteo racial pride and ethnic cohesion. That's not to say that those in the Black Panther did not wear the dashiki- infact Stokely Carmichale was known to wear the dashiki as an expression of Afrocentricity. The dashiki is now a known symbol of black power or pride. Political activits and celebritis have donned this ssymbolic garment.
ionteresting enough, during the time the black movement was picking up steam, the hippie movement was in parralell also beginning to gain popularity. This lead to the increased popularityt of the Dashiki as hippies and white american began to soon don the Dashiki. Afterwards, designs began looking at the dashiki as a source of iinspriatoin for tradional ethnic clothing for African Americans.
Today, the Dashiki is worn everywhere across the United States and not just reserved for Black History Month or ethnic events. Due to the movie Black Panther, many have flocked to the Dashiki as a fashionable item. However, the Dashiki is just more than a tunic as we have explained above and repersents history and respect for those who have worn it.