Dashiki, or ‘dan-ciki,’ meaning loose-fitting pullover, is derived from the Hausa language. This originated in West Africa as a functional work tunic for men, comfortable enough to wear in the heat.
It is a loose-fitting garment with a V-neckline, which is often embroidered and mainly worn by men. Now, women also wear it in the form of a dress-shirt or maxi dress. Dashiki for kids and toddlers have also been created in diverse fashion styles.
As a formal attire for weddings and occasions, it is made from a silk brocade with fine embroidery details on the neck and sleeve areas. Today, dashiki remains well known, worldwide for both women and men.
The History of Dashiki
Dashiki has quite an interesting origin and has become one of the things the black people pride themselves in. The term ‘dashiki’ is borrowed from Yoruba tribe, who borrowed it from the Hausa tribe in West Africa.
The initial origin emanated from West Africa, where its popularity was high because of its lightweight fabric. West Africa is one place that is known for its high temperatures.
As a result, the attire became useful for working men to give comfort under intense heat. Dashiki is an unmistakably African item. Its symbolic significance was formed thousands of miles outside of Africa’s borders.
Those of African descent, whose ancestors were transported to North America in chains, carried the movement. The Black Panther Movements and Civil Rights of the 1960s and early 70s gave the dashiki its political strength.
African Americans adopted the article as a means of rejecting Western cultural norms. This was when the dashiki moved beyond style and functionality to become an emblem of Black pride.
What Does Dashiki Symbolize?
The majority of the dashikis are worn in Africa, but its symbolism also has deep roots in the United States.
In Nigeria, the garment is worn as comfortable wear during the hot weather. In the United States, it has a different symbolism. In the political and cultural struggles of the Black Americans, the garment was used by protesters.
As the African American’s protested against the disrespect they received in America, they wore this garment. They used it as a symbol of the assertion that ‘black is beautiful.’
How to Wear a Dashiki
There are a variety of ways that you can comfortably and stylishly wear your dashiki. The prints on it are detailed with stunning and vibrant colors. You can wear it as a lively dress during the hot periods or pair it with one of your favorite jeans.
In fact, you can wear this clothing with almost everything as the options available is limitless. The combo suggestions below will give you an idea on how to wear and style yours.
- Dashiki Shirt With leggings: This is a comfortable combo for days where we do not want to work or bare our legs. A dashiki shirt will always look and feel comfy with a pair of leggings. You won’t even need to worry about how you may be looking.
- Dashiki Dress Shirt with Ripped Jeans: A Dashiki dress shirt matched with explicit ripped jeans is perfect for a casual event or party. Don’t worry about the energy you might need to look good on it because you won’t be needing any.
- Summer Dashiki Outfit: Dashiki remains one of the best African outfits for summer. To get a bit more of creativity and style on you, you might want to make use of shorts and sandals.
Formal Dashiki Outfit: Ever felt like you can’t get anything formal out of dashiki? Well, you’re wrong. Your dashiki jumpsuits and buggy dresses are just perfect for this look. It can be worn to meetings, conferences, and formal picnics.
However, you might not use them for an all-around official work meeting because they are not entirely professional, but you can always look good with them on events like weddings and many more.
- Dashiki Dress with Boots: The dashiki dress is an all-time favorite because it can always be paired up stylishly using a pair of matching colored boots or flats.
- Dashiki for Kids: The little ones are not left out on wearing a dashiki. In fact, you can easily get baby dashikis and dashiki for toddlers, ranging from 3 months all the way up to 18 months. Your little one will look adorable in dashiki!
Dashiki is the new “it-item.” However, this print has been popular amongst black communities around the world for decades. For many people, it represents a deep cultural connection with the African continent and a full declaration of pride for our roots.