Just like ‘Adire’ originated from Nigeria, Ghana also has her own indigenous fabrics called Kente. You must have been seeing it around or even own one already. This article will help you understand the origin of Kente and various roles it can play in your personal fashion style.
Kente is a brilliantly colourful fabric, entirely hand woven by Ghanaian weavers. It is a silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips. The cloth was a sacred and royal cloth worn only in times of importance and was the cloth of Kings. It is an icon of African cultural heritage around the world and is easily identified by its dazzling multicoloured patterns of bright colours. Geometric shapes, and bold designs.
The historical background of ‘Kente’
Kente was coined from the word ‘Kenten’ which means basket in the Akan dialect of the Ashanti people. It is also called nwentom in the Ashanti language.
According to Ashanti legend, two hunters, whose names were Krugu Amoaya and Wata Kraban, from the village of Bonwire, came across a giant spider and critically watched it spinning a web. Amazed by the web’s intricate beauty, the farmers went back to their houses curious to try and see if they could create something similar. They wove a cloth using fibres from a raffia tree following the patterns of the spider’s web. They took the product to their King who was so excited by the beauty of the present, that he promoted the weavers to the rank of royalty and became the King’s exclusive tailor.
Guess that was an interesting tale!
It is also allowed to be used as special gift item or clothing item used for rites of passage such a child naming, puberty rites invitations, graduations, marriage ceremony, soul washing, burial and ancestral remembrance ceremonies. Kente is used not only for its beauty but also for its symbolic significance. Each of the cloth has a name and a meaning, names and meanings are derived from historical events, individual achievements, proverbs, philosophical concepts, oral literature, moral values, social code of conduct, human behaviour, and certain attributes of plant and animals life.
The Symbolic Colours on ‘Kente’
The beautiful fabric, has its own specific colours and each has has a meaning. Every colour is a symbol of events related to the daily lives of the people. They represent different values and concepts of life. For instance black stands for; maturation, intensified spiritual energy
Patterns And Designs
There are over 300 different patterns of the Kente clothes. Each pattern has a name and its own meaning. These meanings come from religious beliefs, political ideas, and social customs.
The Impact Of ‘Kente’ In Fashion
Though originated from Ghana but now globally accepted as a great fashion wear.
Kente has achieved a tremendous international recognition and has become one of the tangible manifestations of an ever-growing sense of Pan Africanism. It is more widely recognized as one of the shinning strands which make up the colourful cultural fabric of our global village.
This has made Kente one of the most popular African textile. Especially in the west, the cloth is adorned in celebration of African festivities and is highly used by African Americans during various ceremonies.
It is now also use by models for runways, and fashion events. Different individuals have created their own personal styles by mixing Kente with varieties of materials and casual wears such as linen, jeans, among others.
That’s all we have for you today on Kente!
After all you’ve read above would you agree that ‘Kente’ is far more beautiful than an ‘Ankara’? DROP your comments below👇