Who would you prefer to share a front seat in a commercial vehicle on your way to work on Monday or to church on Sunday? A wealthy mechanic, drenched in his engine oil tattered looking gear, or a poor farmer in his clean white shirt and trousers to match? I bet the choice is clear!
Appearance says a thousand words about you even before you say a word. No matter who you are, your status in life, or the work you do, what you wear and how you look matters. Making a great fashion statement is a must and it doesn't take much.
When it comes to fashion and style, the 21st century African is now daring and dynamic, ready to express him or herself through fashion in the most magical way. But this has not always been the case, not because Africans had not had their own sense of fashion, but because much of this has not always been documented into as much detail as one would like.
Dr. Mrs. Ellen Hagan and fashion designer Stylista
It only takes a quick Google search of styles from the late 19th century and early 20th century to notice the imbalance in representation of styles emanating from Africa as opposed to those from other parts of the world. However, you can never keep a good thing down and so African influenced styles started to emerge more and more, gaining global attention as the 20th century wore on.
So many brands across the world began to infuse African influences into their designs. Key among them was the Vlisco brand which Africans had embraced so much so that the continent became their foremost market.
Angelina worn with style
Africans, including Ghanaians began to own these fabrics to the extent of giving them local names with locally relevant meanings. These names have been passed from generation to generation and are quickly recognised as such.
One of Vlisco’s most iconic designs, Angelina, otherwise known as the Dashiki, has become one of the most loved designs in the Vlisco print range and a truly globally iconic fabric. Many people do not even realise that this is an original Vlisco design, but the classic Angelina design was created over 50 years ago by Toon van de Manakker for Vlisco, and is therefore a true original Vlisco design.
Kokui Selormey looking fabulous in her Angelina
While the Angelina was made most popular by the flower power freedom movements in the 60s, it has gone on to become a global signifier of African prints, and still invokes many cultural meanings and personal memories.
You can never go wrong with the patterns in the Angelina fabric
Angelina was inspired by a 19th century Ethiopian noblewoman’s tunic as seen in the book African Textiles Today by Chris Spring. What makes this beloved design extremely special is its ongoing popularity even after more than 50 years! Angelina continues to enchant people, both in Africa and the Diaspora with its beautiful mystique.
The classy Vlisco Angelina fabric
And with the great story and heritage behind it, the Angelina is not going anywhere anytime soon! As Vlisco celebrates its 170 years of dressing generations and truly original style, let us take a look at how the Angelina/Dashiki has been styled over the years.
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