How the Kente Cloth from Ghana Influenced African American Clothing

Jacques Barie


Next time you put on an African print shirt or skirt, look down at the fabric and imagine it as a traditional garment from Ghana. Kente cloth is one of the most popular and well-known fabrics among African Americans, but few people realize its origin in West Africa. Kente cloth is made from silk fibers woven into intricate patterns that symbolize many aspects of life, including birth and death.

Kente Cloth

Kente cloth is a traditional cloth from Ghana, West Africa. It’s made of silk and cotton and hand-woven by the Akan people. Kente cloth has been worn since the 1800s as an expression of culture and identity by Ghanaians who wear it on special occasions such as weddings or funerals. The name “Kente” comes from its town of origin: Kinte (or Ntonsoa), located in the Ashanti region of Ghana where this type of weaving was first created.

The history behind this beautiful fabric starts with royalty; specifically King Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II who was crowned king in 1887 at age nine after his father died during their exile in Britain due to political unrest among other African nations at that time period (1). He ruled until 1900 when he abdicated due to health concerns but continued serving as King until his death six years later (2). During his reign he brought back many traditions including wearing kente cloth which was used exclusively by royalty before then because there wasn’t enough material available for everyone else – only those who could afford such luxury items wore them regularly (3).

The Importance of Kente Cloth

Kente cloth is a type of fabric that is made in Ghana. It’s made by hand, and it has been used for centuries in traditional ceremonies. In addition to being beautiful and unique, kente cloth has become popular in the United States because of its ability to be worn as clothing or accessories.

Kente cloth is a wonderful example of African design influence in international fashion.

Kente cloth is a wonderful example of African design influence in international fashion. Kente cloth, which comes from Ghana and is used to make traditional African clothing, was first woven by the Asante people. It’s made from cotton, silk and wool–a combination that gives it its distinctive look. The beauty of kente lies in its intricately patterned designs that are created using resist dying techniques (dyeing certain areas of fabric before weaving). The result is an intricate fabric with bold colors and geometric shapes that have become synonymous with Ghanaian culture.

Kente has been worn by royalty since it was first created over 500 years ago; today it continues to hold significance as part of ceremonial dress at weddings or funerals throughout West Africa including Nigeria where there are many different styles depending on region such as Igboland where they wear plainer versions whereas Yoruba women wear more colorful patterns like those seen above on this woman wearing her traditional outfit called “Ikale” which means “sheepskin cap”.


The great thing about kente cloth is that it’s so versatile. It can be worn in so many ways, and it looks great on everyone! The colors are vibrant and beautiful, and they make any outfit pop. If you’re looking for something new this season or just want something different from your usual wardrobe staples, then why not try out kente? You won’t regret it!

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