Tue | Aug 21, 2018

Youth get trendy with African-style fashion

Published:Wednesday | April 29, 2015 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell
Style bloggers Tiffany (right) and Michelle Graham. Tiffany is wearing a dashiki by Dimepiece LA, and Michelle is wearing a bodysuit by American Apparel and pants from Missguided.
Shantall sporting a simple button-front striped shirt with a tribal print mini pencil skirt by MiSim.
International R&B star, Rihanna, sporting some African wear. The recent fad was reignited by her.

After years of dabbling with nudity, class and popular trends, reggae/dancehall fashion seems to have repatriated, as African-influenced fashion is now becoming quite the fad for youngsters attending events locally.

For several years, musician Bungo Herman, dub poet Mutabaruka and University Lecturer Dr Carolyn Cooper among others, have worn African-inspired outfits to all events, be they formal or informal.

However, the Jamaican youth never seemed phased by African fashion, until now. Speaking with The Gleaner, at the recently concluded JaRIA Honour Awards, Dr Carolyn Cooper said African fashion is high fashion.

"African fashion was always high fashion - the body decorated, the clothes, the hair, the paint, everything. It's like we go round and come back around and we now see that African style is high fashion. The youth used to think that only culture people and old people wear those things, but now they are realising that young people can wear it because it's definitely fashionable," she told The Gleaner.


In tune with their past


Reggae/dancehall stylist Leticia 'Stylishempress' Williams, who has styled artistes like I-Octane and Etana, told The Gleaner, she believes the youth are getting in tune with their past.

"It's distinct, and I don't think it's because reggae and dancehall have run out of ideas. When people dress as an African prince or as an empress, it gives you a good feeling inside. I also think that when Rihanna wore it on her instagram, other youth decided to jump on the bandwagon. Fashion always elevates and evolves and I just think people are trying to be more cultural. Even if a particular fashion doesn't look good, people will jump to it because it was done by a celebrity. The way they are styling it in Jamaica, it's nice and I totally love it," said Williams.

Various African-style dresses and shirts can be found hanging on vending stalls in and around the Corporate Area. One vendor located in Half-Way Tree told The Gleaner that the new dress code is a hit, especially among the females.

"Dem have man shirt to, but a mostly di woman dem a buy dem off. Di man dem mostly a buy di Kanye West style, with the kilt at the bottom. But when it comes to the African dress and shirt dem, the young girl dem love dem bad, every week mi haffi bring een more," the vendor told The Gleaner.