Tuesday, 25 October 2016

All you need to know about how the Dashiki fabric came to being!

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The word 'dashiki' originates from the Yoruba word 'dasiki' which originates from the hausa words 'dan ciki', which mean 'underneath'. The Yoruba word 'dasiki', which is also pronounced 'Dah-shee-kih' represents the short tunic that Yoruba men wear under their larger traditional robes. 

The video below of the Nigerian artist, Lagbaja, shows men wearing the Dasikis without the larger robes:

So the Yoruba 'Dasiki' is the clothing that inspired the creators of 'Dashiki'. Dashiki was created by Jason Benning, Milton Clarke, Howard Davis, and William Smith in a 2 room clothing store in the Harlem section of Manhattan USA in the 1960s. This was a period when blacks in the USA suffered cultural and political struggles due to racism. Jason, Milton, Howard and William created a company which they called 'New Breed' to produce Dashikis. It was for them a means to identify with their African roots. It signified Black pride! It gave them hope and pride as Black people. Throughout American Fashion, the dashiki has always been an identity marker. It is associated with Black power and the 'Black is beautiful' movement! 

Video below shows vintage Dashikis made in the 70s:

Dashiki was worn by actors in several black movies in the early nineties like: Uptight (1968), Putney Swope (1969), and the weekly television series Soul Train (1971). Even today in America many Black celebrities and entertainers wear it to identify with their black roots and it is trending worldwide!! Many people wear it because it is beautiful and it is trending but if you are reading this article now, you know its cultural significance, so the next time you wear it, wear it with attitude, coz BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL!
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