The Power of Fashion: The Historical Controversy of the Dashiki

May 29, 2017 - 0 Comments

Interesting facts about the Dashiki and it’s vital role in Black Empowerment

1 – The Dashiki originated from West Africa.

The word “dashiki” comes from the Yoruba word danshiki. Garments similar to the dashiki have been found in caves in Southern Mali; they dated as far back as the 12th and 13th centuries. It was more than a fashion statement. It was convenient for the intense heat in West Africa, given that the fabric is loose-fitting and light.

This image was originally posted to Flickr by emilio labrador at It was reviewed on 16 June 2009 by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

Dashiki and Kufi Cap

2 – It became a bold political statement in the US

Americans of African descent began to adorn the Dashiki during the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement. After hundreds of years of being denied the opportunity to embrace anything that represented their African heritage, African Americans used the Dashiki as a means of rejecting Western cultural norms. It was a symbol of Black Pride, as powerful as the Afro and a raised fist.

At the time, Western culture dictated a dull-coloured, well-fitting, tucked in shirt with a coat and tie was a proper man’s attire. Wearing brightly coloured, loose shirt and not tucking it in was viewed as a form of defiance.

3 – It is now a trendy fashion piece

Though the militancy behind the Dashiki was watered down in the 60s, the clothing still remained a symbol of African pride. Over a period of time, white men and women started to wear Dashikis as fashion statements with the various amounts of colors.

Today, the dashiki is featured in popular culture across the globe. They have been spotted in films and worn by lots of celebrities.

It is quite fascinating how fashion can have a powerful impact on society. Read more about how the Dashiki was a symbol of affirmation to the struggles of African Americans in Post-Slavery USA.


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