Marika Barbie + West African fashion

The Rich World of African Menswear

After Asia, Africa is the globe’s largest continent with 1 billion inhabitants, 54 sovereign states, 2,000 languages, and hundreds of ethnic groups.

Considered the place of origin for the human race, Africa produced the earliest Homo sapiens circa 200,000 years ago—hence, the oldest inhabited territory on Earth.

Prior to colonization, Africa was home to nearly 10,000 different states, ranging from small family groups to major kingdoms.

By the late 19th century, however, most of Africa had been divided up by European colonial powers. For this reason, a number of African countries speak European languages.

Although post-colonial Africa has faced a multitude of challenges, there has been a resurgence of traditional African cultures, some of which strive for economic and scientific revitalization.

Despite the challenges, the richness of the African heritage is undeniable, as the magnificence of the multicultural treasures is replete throughout the entire continent, including in then menswear!

Take, for example, the Grand Boubou (from mbubb or gown) found in West Africa—also known as the Agbada by the Yoruba and Babariga by the Hausa.

The garment found its way to West Africa in the 8th century through Berber nomads of the Sahara called Tuareg, who refer to the garment as K'sa.

The Boubou is characterized by intricate embroideries and can include tie-up trousers called Sokoto, a shirt known as Dashiki, and an opulent gown.

Finally, no Boubou would be complete without the Aso Oke hat!

Recently, I found a very cool site where you can purchase your own Bubu attire—Dupsie’s!

Photos Courtesy & Copyright Dupsie’s.

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The Rich World of African Menswear + West African fashion