Like the Nsu Bura print, the iconic Angelina print was created by a Vlisco textile designer. Toon van de Manakker based the design of the print on the 19th century Ethiopian noblewoman’s tunic. Commonly known as the Angelina print, this print is widely worn in West Africa, in countries like Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Ghana and came to be. When the print's popularity peeked in the 1970s, the highlife song “Angelina” by Ghanaian artists Sweet Talks & A.B. Crentsil frequently played on the radio.
The name dashiki comes from the word “danshiki” or "dan ciki" means “shirt” in Yoruba and Hausa, respectively, languages spoken in West Africa, specifically Nigeria.
In 1967, Jason Benning coined the modern term "dashiki" and began to mass produce the dashiki-style shirt along with Milton Clarke, Howard Davis, and William Smith under their brand New Breed Clothing Ltd, based out of Harlem, NY. As a unisex garment, many men and women wear the dashiki during Black History Month, Kwanzaa, and other Afrocentric cultural events. Since the late 1960's, the dashiki shirt continues to be worn by African-Americans embracing their African heritage and promoting Black pride.
In recent years, the dashiki shirt has become part of essential street wear attire, thanks to celebrities increasingly being captured rocking the lovely print.
Celebs in Dashiki: Amandla Stenberg, Chris Brown, Zendaya, Rihanna, Jhené Aiko and Beyoncé.
From Europe to Asia and the Americas to across Africa, the dashiki shirt is worn globally. From an oversized shirt to a full-length dress, the Angelina print comes in a number of styles. However, many designers are creating flattering and stunning outfits with the Angelina print, which comes in multiple vibrant colours.
Here at Kuwala, we’ve featured stylish teens incorporating the Angelina print into their gorgeous prom dresses and captured the famous fabric at Afrofest. You may have even noticed that we also sell some gorgeous Angelina print dresses in our boutique. Check out the flirty Zhara dress:
Some may call the dashiki shirt a “trend” or the new “it-item”, however this print has been popular amongst black communities around the world for decades. For many people, the dashiki represents a deep cultural connection with the African continent and a joint declaration of pride for our roots. Ironically, it should be noted that a majority of dashiki-style shirts that are sold on the market today are primarily made in Asia.
What would you create with the Angelina print and in which colour? Let us know below.