Why African Prints Are So Popular

There are obvious reasons why African prints stimulate the fashion sense of many and are a style phenomenon all over the world.

For decades African fabrics and textiles have captured the attention of people all around the globe. The hand-made nature, vibrant colors, and unique artistry of African fashion makes them simply irresistible to the eye, and as such they’ve become a feature in many fashion shows and collections. 

Mostly made out of silk, cotton, raffia, linen, and bark, African fashion pieces are made by many different production techniques like weaving, dyeing, printing, and embroidering. What’s more is that African fashion isn’t just beautiful; they also communicate much about Africans and their rich culture and history. For example, the Ashanti people of Ghana use yellow for vitality and fertility, and gold for status and serenity. Green is for renewal and growth. Meanwhile, the Akan people of West Africa use white for festive occasions and red, brown, and black for funerals. 

African wax prints are named after cities, personalities, buildings, sayings, or occasions. They also have the product name, producer, and even registration number of the design printed on the selvage, which protects the design and says a lot about the product’s quality. These wax prints carry so much information about the hands that made them. 

There are many reasons for African fashion’s popularity and why it continues to rise. Here are some of them. 

Vibrant patterns

One of the most noticeable features of African fashion is the vibrancy of the patterns. Not only do they catch the eye because of how lovely they are, but also with their repetitive nature that draws viewers in and is incredibly visually appealing. 

There is a rhythmic quality to the patterns found in African fashion. This comes from the inspiration for many African patterns – nature. Leaves, trees, pods, thorns, and seeds all show lines and patterns that are repetitive and pleasing to the eye. Then there are the camouflaging patterns of animals, birds and insects as well as river waters, river beds, fish markings, and coral features. 

A great example of this is the Abiona African print top. One of the beautiful D’iyanu African print piece for women, the Abiona top gives an effortlessly chic look. Featuring sky blue and yellow Kente, this crop top features a smocked bodice and elastic at the sleeve openings. It can be easily paired with jeans for a laid back look, or dressed up with a skirt and jewelry. 


People often think that African fashion is difficult to style because it’s so colorful and vibrant, but in fact it’s quite the opposite. An African print piece can be styled with almost anything in a neutral or complimentary color. 

For example, a top that’s yellow and black can be styled with black, beige, or white pants or a skirt, and looks great with any kind of denim bottoms. For those looking for a bit more color, it could also be paired with bright blue or yellow pants. 

When it comes to accessorizing, African fashion can be worn with plenty of, minimal, or even no jewelry. It depends on the wearer and what they think suits them and the clothing. Many choose to go for equally eye-catching jewelry, like large, chunky necklaces and earrings, while some prefer the clothes to be the only focus of the outfit and so go with little to no jewelry. 

Bags, hats, and scarves can all also be paired easily with African fashion. The colors can be matched or complimented, while the shapes can follow the patterns on the fashion (e.g. soft bags with rounded patterns). 

The only limit to wearing and pairing African fashion pieces is the imagination of the wearer. Their personality can shine through no matter what the piece they choose looks like. 

Colourful nature

Non-African fashion can tend toward being only one color, which can be tricky for people who are looking for bold, colorful pieces. African fashion on the other hand, boasts some of the most colorful prints in the world. 

Color in clothing can instantly brighten moods and keep them bright, which is great because daily life can bring a lot of challenges with it. It just feels good to walk around in beautiful, colorful clothing that looks and feels happy. 

Something else that’s great about colourful clothing is that it looks amazing on a huge majority of skin tones and undertones. 

Additionally, people can say so much about themselves with the colors in their clothing. They can tell the world that they’re happy, upbeat people, if they’re friendly and approachable, or fun and interesting. They can communicate who they are and what they’re feeling 

These colorful clothes are also usually a great conversation starter!

Rich cultural heritage

African fashion reflects African culture. Unlike most Western fashion, African fashion draws inspiration from their surroundings. Patterns can tell tales and even traditional proverbs, every single color and line represents a different piece of a larger story that can be read and interpreted if the viewer knows how. 

Designs can communicate much about the specific African cultures that they come from, and provide a lot of insight into that culture, such as their philosophies, values, knowledge, and wisdom. For example, a palm tree might be included in a pattern and represent self-sufficiency, yet it’s meaning is that humans are not self-sufficient! Women wear their African fashion with pride. They express themselves with every piece of clothing. 

Final thoughts

African fashion is one of the most unique and precious types of clothing that someone can own. So much goes into the creation of a piece and there is so much history and culture behind it. There is a continuing and even increasing popularity of African prints as many youth are trying to reconnect with their roots, alongside celebrities embracing their culture. 

What’s sure is that African fashion will never go out of style, and that it’s obvious why it’s so popular!

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