A kikoi is a traditional rectangle of woven fabric from Africa. The kikoi, which is considered a component of Swahili culture, is predominantly worn by Maasai and Kikuyu men in Kenya, as well as males from Tanzania and Zanzibar. Women also use the kimono to create dresses and jackets.
Before wearing a kikoi, it is traditionally cleaned with water and dried in the sun. The Maasai make their kikoyio by cutting strips of cow or goat skin and sewing them together into a bag. This is then used to store food or clothing items.
In today's world, a kikoi is most often made from cotton. However, linen and other fibers are also used.
The word "kikoi" is derived from the Kikuyu language and means "what he wears around his neck". It was introduced to the country by the British when they ruled over Kenya.
During the 19th century, the Maasai people wore nothing but kikoys until the Europeans came up with clothes made from animal skins. Since then, both the Maasai and Kikuyu have started wearing kikois again.
Today, you can find kikois in many colors and designs.
The Kuba cloth is a one-of-a-kind fabric that originated in Africa's Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are also known colloquially as African Kuba Cloth. The men weave the fabric out of raffia strands, while the women embellish it with colorful tufts in various geometric shapes. Both men and women participate in the weaving process, which makes the Kuba cloth unique.
Although originally made for clothing, over time they have become popular as wall hangings. There are many varieties of Kuba cloth available today, but all contain essentially the same elements - red, black, and white. Some include other colors such as yellow or purple. Although commonly thought of as a man's fabric, there are actually several female weavers who work alongside their male counterparts.
The Kuba cloth has become very popular in modern design. Many furniture manufacturers incorporate Kuba into their designs for both aesthetic and practical reasons. The hardy nature of the material means it can be used for outdoor furniture since it will not rot or mildew like other fabrics might. It also absorbs moisture so items sitting on it will not feel wet like if it were cotton or linen.
There are several ways to use Kuba in your own home decor. You can buy ready-made panels or take the time to weave one yourself. If you choose to make your own, remember that men use raffia threads and women use yucca fibers.
The kanzu is the traditional attire of Swahili-speaking males in East Africa. The kanga and gomesi are worn by women. In Southern Africa, unusual shirts are used, as are long gowns. South Africa, for example, is recognized for its Madiba shirt, whilst Zimbabwe is famed for its safari shirt.
In North America, African Americans have often worn clothes that were imported from Europe or elsewhere abroad. During the early 20th century, a type of dress called the "jungle suit" became popular among urban blacks in America. This outfit was largely made out of tropical fabrics such as silk and coconut fiber, and it was usually worn with dark brown leather shoes.
Jamaica is known for its national costume, the parang. It is typically made out of crinkly, gold-colored material and has a square neckline and short sleeves. A pair of wooden slippers is required to wear the parang.
In Australia, Africans have traditionally worn clothes similar to those of their American counterparts. However, during the second half of the 20th century, indigenous Australians began wearing more unique clothing. Today, many Aboriginal people can be seen wearing jeans and tees bearing political slogans.
In Latin America, men mostly wear pants and shirts, while women wear dresses or skirts. The color scheme is usually white or black.
Khadi fabric, often known as khaddar, is a cotton-based hand-woven natural fiber. Khadi fabric dates back to Mahatma Gandhi's time as the leader of the Swadeshi Movement. This fabric has a rough texture and is pleasant to wear in the winter while still keeping you cool in the summer. Today, there are many types of khadi fabrics available, including plain weaves, printed weaves, and knit fabrics.
There are two main methods used for making khadi clothes: handloom weaving and machine weaving. Handloom-weaved khadi has a beautiful woven design but it can be very expensive because of the low yield per thread. Machine-weaved khadi is much more affordable but it looks nothing like the hand-woven variety. Modern machines are capable of weaving so fine a thread that it is almost impossible to see with the naked eye. They do this by moving yarn around multiple rods or beams. These rods or beams are then called heddles. When one heddle is pulled, all the other heddles swing out from underneath the piece of cloth being made. Then they are let go so that they return to their original position. This up-and-down motion goes on until the whole length of yarn has been used up. Then the heddles are taken out and replaced with new ones.
Kenya's national language is Swahili (also known as Kiswahili). Swahili began as a commerce language on the East African coast, spoken by both Arabs and coastal tribes. It became widely used in communication between Europeans and Africans, and today it is the official language of Tanzania and Uganda. Although it is still spoken by many people in these countries, it is not considered vital for survival there.
When Kenya became independent in 1963, most government officials and their families spoke English instead. But since then, almost everyone has learned some Swahili - especially if they want to get a job in the tourism industry or find work abroad.
Although most Kenyans understand Swahili, they usually only speak it with each other. They will often switch to English with strangers or when discussing serious matters.
Swahili is very similar to Hindi, Urdu and Arabic, which means that once you know one, you know them all. However, unlike these languages, which have several forms depending on how you say something, every word has only one correct way to be said.
In addition to English and Swahili, Kenya's other major language is Kikuyu. It is the first language of about 15% of the population. Kalenjin and others are also recognized, but less commonly.
But when we call this cloth "African," we're missing a much bigger picture: this sort of fabric is usually developed and made in European factories for sale to West Africa—and the designs are taken from patterns adopted by European designers from traditional Indonesian batik.
The true story of African textiles is one of survival and adaptation in the face of colonialism. In fact, it was not until the 1950s that Africans started making anything resembling modern clothing. Before then, they made everything they wore. Wool from sheep; cotton from plants; silk from worms. All have been used by Africans for thousands of years.
In Europe, textile manufacturing dates back at least 3,000 years. The ancients invented many new materials and techniques that have been used ever since. But despite centuries of evolution, their clothes remained fairly simple compared with those made today. Clothes were not just functional items that protected us from the elements but also aesthetic objects that people loved wearing.
In Europe, during the Renaissance era, wool became popular again as a material for clothing, especially for high-status individuals like kings and princes. These garments were often embroidered with great detail and included colors that didn't exist in nature!
Today, India is the largest producer and consumer of clothing. The country produces about 5 million tons of textile waste each year, most of which is discarded without any treatment.