In countries where seasons dictate what you wear, the summer is the favoured time to express yourself in bold colours and lighter fabrics. With African fashion becoming a global trend, we’re also seeing traditional African patterns pop up in many wardrobes. It doesn’t stop with clothing, shoes are also being made with the beautiful prints.
It was a few years ago when I first spotted people wearing shoes using ankara fabrics. I remember Aldo had a pair of wedges that I wanted (but with my size 12 feet they don’t have my size). While I was in Ghana I often saw shoemakers who would simply cover an old pair of shoes with fabric to give them a new life with a vibrant pattern. This style certainly isn’t new in African countries, but it’s gained attention outside the continent. Take a look through Pinterest or Etsy.com and you’re sure to see so many style options.
Many designers and fast fashion retailers have all created one or two styles that mix these patterns into the design too. Often referred to as ‘tribal chic’ or ‘ethnic’ (not my most favourite choices for mainstream media to describe African fashion trends), these can look good on anyone.
These are pretty simple to incorporate into your wardrobe. If you’re a more conservative person you can let the shoes be your statement. Wear all one colour and allow the shoes to stand out on their own. That way you’re not stressing about trying to match the colours with your outfit. For instance wear all white and let the shoes be your statement item.
For the woman who likes to be more edgy with her personal style, don’t be afraid to mix patterns. Wear a printed pencil skirt that brings out the colours in the shoe. Or better yet, wear a completely different pattern. Mixing patterns was once frowned upon in fashion circles, but with patchwork and mixed patterns seen first in streetwear then on the runway, mixing prints is now a modern way of dressing.