How African Ankara Prints are taking over Jamaica

“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”

Dr Carolyn Cooper commenting on the trend towards African  Ankara print clothing among Millennials

Is there a trend in Jamaica towards Africa Ankara Print being used (Risden, 2016, February 29) in clothing among Millennials?

It certainly looks that way as I’ve personally been seeing more and more people in the Cross Roads and Half-Way-Tree area wearing clothing with African print. The trend, which has been noticed in February 2016, began a far back as April 2015 (Campbell, 2015, April 29), quite odd, given the fact it’s something you would associate with UWI lecturers such as MutaBaruka and Dr. Carolyn Cooper.

Interestingly, it mostly females, something a Half-Way-Tree vendor had pointed out (Campbell, 2015, April 29) was in-demand, quote: “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”.

MICO Wars - How African Ankara Prints are taking over Jamaica - 11-05-2016 LHDEER (2)

Still, there are shirts and gowns for males as well, albeit I’m not sure if they are considered casual wear of fit for a formal occasion. Millennials probably wear them for a completely different reason than the Pan-Africianists at UWI.

MICO Wars - How African Ankara Prints are taking over Jamaica - 11-05-2016 LHDEER (1)

Or they maybe be genuinely be channeling their ancestors or at least celebrities such as Beyonce, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian (Akinola, 2013, June 12) who’ve been rocking them since 2013, to quote Reggae/dancehall stylist Leticia ‘Stylishempress’ Williams: “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”.

So is this a trend for the Summer 2016 up to Christmas 2016? It’ll be interesting to see how far African Ankara Prints make it in Jamaica.

References:

  1. Akinola, K. (2013, June 12). HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITIES ROCKING AFRICAN “Ankara” PRINTS. Retrieved from https://kimberlyakinola.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/hollywood-celebrities-rocking-african-ankara-prints/
  2. Campbell, C. (2015, April 29). Youth Get Trendy With African-Style Fashion. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/entertainment/20150429/youth-get-trendy-african-style-fashion
  3. Risden, C. (2016, February 29). Africa-Inspired Trends. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/flair/20160229/africa-inspired-trends
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