For some people, wearing an African dashiki is a tradition in Black History Month. This probably is the reason why dashiki sales soar so high during February. Dashikis are directly associated with Africa, and instantly recognizable as an African look. In Nigeria and many other African countries, dashikis are worn for comfort in the hot climate. In America, the African dashiki sends its own message.
What is a dashiki? A dashiki is a colorful garment that covers the top half of the body. The dashiki found a market in America during the Black cultural and political struggles in the 1960s. The dashiki rebelled against men’s fashions of that time: brightly colored instead of drab, loose instead of tight, worn outside the pants instead of tucked in. It could be worn defiantly on occasions that normally would call for a coat and tie.
The dashiki was worn as a way to protest society’ s disrespect for African Americans. It was a symbol of affirmation, it stood for “black is beautiful,” and signaled a return to African roots, and insistence on full rights in American society.
The militancy of the 1960s may have faded, but the dashiki has not. It still serves as a symbol of Africanness within American culture, especially during Kwanzaa and Black History Month. It is also sometimes worn as a high fashion look or just a colorful, comfortable shirt for all occasions.
Where can I find Dashikis? You can find many dashikis and other African apparel on the Africa Imports web site. Click Here to see the traditional print dashikis pictured, or Click Here to see all the available African Clothing.