African fashion continues to command its place in local markets…In spite of dominant western trends
Regardless of how hung up the fashion crazed world may be over captivating yet modern English trends, traditional African fashion still has a place in the proverbial sun.
In Guyana, Afro-inspired fashion is not always a common sight. In fact, it is known to be widespread just a month before Emancipation Day which is celebrated nationally on August 1. They are also found to be worn at culturally themed events.
And even though foreign, fashion trends dominate the local markets; unrelenting aficionados of African clothing continue to promote traditional wears all year round, even if it does not mean raking in millions of dollars at the end of the month. For them, it is mostly about keeping aspects of the African heritage alive and relevant.
One such African Fashionista is, Miss Anetha Daniels. She is a London-based Guyanese cultural enthusiast who has been running her humble outlet at the Ocean View Hotel and subsequently in Charlotte Street, Lacytown for several years now.
Daniels is usually seen during the Emancipation celebrations at the National Park displaying and selling most of her imported pieces which include, dresses, head wraps, as well as male suits and shirts.
The Fashion Enthusiast however, never offers the same designs twice. When stocks are out, she carefully hunts for new eye-catching pieces which are imported from various parts of Africa through London.
She believes that African ‘costumes’ have become mainly trendy among male and female church goers. She also provides traditional wears for those seeking to have a traditional African wedding.
Daniels also found over the years that the demand for African attire among Guyanese appears to be most distinct among women, as it reinforces their cultural boldness.
The London-based African fashion guru notes that much of the fashionable clothing is manufactured from rich, exotic fabric and the finished creations can, in fact, be too costly for the ordinary working man.
Dashikis can cost as much as US$200 to US$300 depending on the threads used and from where they are imported. Wedding costumes go from US$400 to US$600 or even more depending on how elaborate it will be and the print used.
Additionally, traditional African prints, can cost as much as US$40 per meter, heavy Anchar Waxed fabric at around US$25 per meter and embroidered silk at us$30 per meter. Kaftan dresses are usually around the price range of US$100.
There are, however, other outlets committed to the African fashion inside Bourda Market such as The Culture & Herbs Boutique & Variety Stall.
There, it is quite evident how rich and exotic the African prints and clothing from Nigeria and other states are. Customers have been noted to favour the dark coloured and unusually patterned collection of African clothing from Ghana.
Designs and other items of clothing from Mali and Benin are also popular. Attire from these western states are bright magentas, sea greens, turquoise, purple, royal blue, burnt gold and bronze pieces trimmed with dark contrasts, gold thread, lace and knitted edges.
There, customers can acquire entire outfits for around US$100.