Like the Nsu Bura print, the iconic Dashiki 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. The print is widely worn in West Africa, in countries like Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Ghana. The word “danshiki” means “shirt” in Yoruba, a major language spoken in Nigeria by the Kwa people.
The Dashiki has come to be commonly known as the Angelina print. 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.
In the United States, the Dashiki became popular during the 1960’s as African-Americans were embracing their African heritage and promoting Black pride. As a unisex garment, both men and women wear the Dashiki during Black History Month, Kwanzaa, and other Afrocentric cultural events. In recent years, the Angelina print has become part of essential street wear attire, thanks to celebrities 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 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 Dashiki print into their gorgeous prom dresses and captured the famous fabric at Afrofest. You may have noticed that we also sell some gorgeous Dashiki print dresses in our boutique:
Some may call the Dashiki 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. However it should be noted that a majority of Dashiki shirts that are popularly worn today are made in Asia, mainly in Thailand.
What would you create with the Angelina print and in which colour? Let us know below.