What is the Real Meaning Behind “Traditional” Print Clothing?

Meaning Behind Dashiki or Angelina Print Fabric

Traditional print, or dashiki style clothing is becoming increasingly popular this year, and it’s not hard to see why! From vibrant colors to an exotic design this style is a great way to bring attention to your African heritage. But what does this design mean? Is there any significance to this popular print? Let’s find out!

The “traditional print” fabric actually goes by many names. In Congo and Ghana it is most commonly referred to as the Angelina cloth. Why? The Angelina cloth was given its name because the popularity of the print coincided with the release of the hit song “Angelina” by the legendary Ghanaian highlife group The Sweet Talks.

The Sweet Talks
The Sweet Talks

This fabric has also been called Addis Ababa fabric, Miriam Makeba fabric, Mashallah fabric, or ‘Dashiki Print’ fabric. Why does it have so many names? At Vlisco, the textile company that distributes its fabrics all over Central and Western Africa, the consumer of the product gets to name the fabric they buy. Miriam Makeba, Masallah, and Addis Ababa, were some of the first people to appreciate this particular pattern and purchase it for themselves.

Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba – One of the earliest fans of traditional print fabric

What was the inspiration for this print? Vlisco designer Toon Van De Manakker based the design on a garment worn by a 19th century Ethiopian noblewoman. After seeing this design he tried to recreate it, and that’s how we have the ‘traditional print’ of today. Where the Ethiopian noblewoman found the print we may never know, but it’s probably safe to say the original design came from somewhere in Ethiopia over 50 years ago.

Where can I find traditional print clothing or Angelina cloth clothing?

Here at Africa Imports we have a huge selection of traditional print garments. From dashikis to pant sets to dresses, there’s a multitude of choices! You can easily find them by doing a search for ‘traditional print’ on our web site. You can see a few selections below as well!

Traditional Print Luxury Skirt Set
Traditional Print Luxury Skirt Set
Decorated Traditional Print Kaftan
Decorated Traditional Print Kaftan
Traditional Print Dashiki
Traditional Print Dashiki
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