History of fashion in Ghana

History of fashion in Ghana

A lot has been going on in the Ghanaian fashion industry. Ghanaian fashion has grown from baggy jeans and oversized T-shirts in the 90s to the current fancy styles today. Fashion has seen a lot of changes over the years with men, women and children finding new styles for every season. Sometimes it is important to know how far this industry has come to truly appreciate the input of designers and other industry players. When you rock in your favorite attire remember that Fashion has come a long way especially in Ghana.

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History of Fashion in Ghana

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Fashion history in Ghana dates back to the precolonial times. It is worth noting that the West African country boosts of some of the best fashion in the entire region. In fact, it is in the Ashanti region in Ghana in a village known as Bonwire that the prestigious Ghanaian fabric was discovered. Kente was the most and probably still is one of the most famous of all the African textile cloths. Kente means woven cloth. It was used for beauty adornment and was the perfect choice for kings and chieftains. In modern times, the kente wear is still being used for festivals and other traditional occasions. Before delving into the current fashion and how the fashion industry has evolved over the years, a little background is crucial.

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Fashion in Ghana has not always been the way it is today. Kente was the original traditional wear of the Ghanaian people. It was worn on special traditional functions which is why the different colors of the Kente have different meanings even today. In fact, it is believed that the entire Subsaharan fashion owes its progress and development to Ghana. The first aspects of cloth making, though traditional was done in an Ashanti village known as Bonwire. The residents of the village were introduced to the idea of producing the Kente wear which rose to become one of the most notable African cloths. The kente cloth got its name from the term Kenten which means basket. The indigenous Ashanti people referred to the Kente cloth as Nwentoma which means a cloth that is woven. The special cloth was reserved for chiefs and kings. Today it is still used for special occasions.

Trending Ghana fashion

Ghana fashion

Ghanaians take a special interest in their dressing and overall grooming. This is probably why their is a lot of creativity in the fashion industry considering the fact that there is always high demand for something new and fresh. Ghanaians need something cool for the wedding they plan to attend or a great outfit to impress friends on their weekend retreat. Regardless of what the motivation is, finding the right attire is an absolute must. While this may be easy today, it has not always been this easy. Taking a look at the history and evolution of fashion in Ghana reveals this much. The following is an insight of how far this industry has come.

The 20th century brought with it a lot of changes in he fashion industry. These changes led to the expansion in production which in turn led to the spread of the Kente to many parts of the country.With increasing demand, designers sought easier ways to produce unique Kente cloth that would be affordable as opposed to the woven cloth that was reserved for the affluent because it was expensive. The current fashion industry began to form in early 2000 when imported fabric from Holland was used to make unique wear. As more people demanded for these unique products, there was increased production which made the designers even more popular that hey became celebrities. The government embraced the growth in the industry and introduced National Friday wear as means of promoting the African wear. This increased the market base and encouraged more designers to join the industry. Over the years the industry has grown to what it is today.

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Ghana traditional clothing styles

The traditional African wear in Ghana include the Ghanaian smock and the kente cloth. The Ghanaian smock is made from the gonja cloth. The two attires have been in existence for as long as the Ghanaian fashion has existed.

Kente cloth

The Kente cloth is very significant among the Ghanaians. Normally, it is used during celebrations, special occasions and ceremonies. Today, the Kente cloth is made into different attires for both men and women. It is worn slightly different today compared to how it was worn traditionally. In the beginning, the kente cloth was only used by the kings and chieftains because of its symbolic significance. Its handwoven patterns bore a symbolic significance that was cultural and traditional. However, the same beautiful and bright colors of the Kente cloth can be worn by any person. Times have changed and the beauty of the cloth is appreciated by all. While there are still people that use the kente attire traditionally, it is not as strict as it was some time back.

Learn interesting details about traditional African wear in Ghana

The traditional kente cloth was made from raffia palm fibers. This made it appear like a basket. However in the current modern day, they are made of cotton which is why they are suited perfectly for the African climate.

Ghanaian smock

Made of cotton fabrics. Smocks are thick and striped. This fabric has its origin in Northern Ghana. The cotton is picked, then dyed and carefully dried. The pattern for this cloth is black/blue strips with white interchanging strips. This traditional Ghanaian African wear resembles a shirt and is often worn by men. Modernity has however seen women adopting the smock for functions as well. The Ghanaian smock is also often referred to as dansika, fugu, batakari or gonja cloth.

Ghanaian fashion dresses

Ghana fashion is rapidly changing. The country's diversity and multi-citizenry that is proud of their culture, Ghana has recently become the pace setter as far as fashion is concerned. Here are some of the dress styles in Ghana you can check out.

Long African Dresses

Long Ankara dress

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These types of dresses are quite popular in Ghana. They are elegant and fashionable attires. If you are a lady with a full figure then this suits you. Long Ankara dresses are perfect for weddings and church functions. This is a modern variation of what the ankara wear has revolved to. The two mix print attire brings in a modern twist and sophistication into an attire giving it a comfortable and modern feel.

Short dresses

This would be a perfect for ladies that love to wear their African attire short and sexy. With the latest fashion trends in Ghana, this is just but an example of a traditional attire that has revolutionized into a modern perfect fit dress. You can have it pleated or straight depending on your personal preferences. The earth toned colors bring out the African touch quite effectively.

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Ghana print

Every other time the fashion industry witnesses introduction of a new attire styles that are better than to those from before. This is what keeps the industry growing and changing. Due to the same progress we have seen Ghanaian traditional dresses revolutionized into modern dresses that work for the current woman. Looking at the history of Ghana fashion, it is easy to see that the industry has made tremendous progress. Ghanaian fashion designers have had their work cut out for them and they have delivered. The need to work extra hard to keep things fresh and exciting in an overly competitive industry is inevitable. Fortunately, the versatility of the Ghanaian print makes it possible for new releases regularly. Here are some of the Ghana prints.


Though not originally Ghanaian, this African wear has been embraced by most Africans. It’s normally made from plain fabrics. Mostly used by the Muslims and ALhaji's as uniforms. Kaftans come in different designs and colors. They have embroidery around the wrist, pockets and neck areas.

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Sporty wear

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Rock in any of these shorts and skirts. Designers have worked on getting excellent causal wears in African fabric. This has led to signature pieces like the shorts and skirts shown in the pic above. They make an excellent outfit for an easy weekend at the beach.

Ghana print with demin

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Demin is one of the universally accepted wears. Pairing it with the African print wear is another way of remaining relevant and stylish with an African touch. Combining the right sized denim pants or skirt with a Ghana print top brings color in your gorgeous look. This is a modern look that most African women in Ghana have warmed up to recently especially as a weekend casual wear. It never disappoints.


If matched well, the blazer rarely goes wrong. This is one of the few fashion trends in Ghana among men and women with classic dressing sense of style. This blazer can be rocked with tight dresses, jeans or even skirts. It can also work perfectly for the person seeking to break an official suit look. Replacing your coat with the blazer brings in a semi-casual look that makes you appear mysterious and in control.

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The maxi are timeless pieces that will probably always remain fashionable. In fact some Ghanaian fashion designers have a way of making them even more stylish and classic for the modern woman. Whether you want a style that is modest and all covering or are going for a more daring look with some skin showing them the maxi will be perfect. Maxis come in different variations including dresses, overalls and skirts. This is good as it covers the different tastes and preferences that women go for.

The Kente wear

Kente is common among the people of Ghana. It is one of the oldest wears in Ghana which is why it gets a special mention. In fact, it may be considered one of the ultimate Ghana fashion styles. Here are some of the best kente styles in Ghana.

Kente traditional cloth wrap

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This is an old fashioned way of wearing the Kente cloth. It is perfect for men and is often considered a wedding attire. A large piece of kente cloth is wrapped on in a special technique through the shoulder. It may not be very common today. However, it is sometimes worn for special traditional functions.

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Kente shirts and pants

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When pants are talked of here, you could start imagining that this combination is only for men. No! Ladies too will rock in this. This is one of the latest Kente styles in Ghana.

Kente style for traditional marriage

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It is almost as if Kente is the official attire for traditional weddings in Ghana. Kente makes perfect attires for both grooms and brides that have chosen the traditional path for their wedding. When combined appropriately with traditional accessories such as bracelets and related ornaments, this becomes a perfect wear for couples. The bride and groom appears elegant for their special day.

Kente dresses and skirts

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These are some of the best kente styles for ladies. Kente dresses and skirts are popular in Ghana. They come in different variations and feature among the latest dress styles in Ghana.

Kente for men

Men are not left behind when it comes to kente styles. Kente for men is versatile. You can choose to have an official tire made or try a casual look by combining a kente t-shirt with matching or plain pants. It makes one of the best Friday wear styles in Ghana.

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The Ghana fashion week

This is a week that showcases all the goodies that the fashion industry in Ghana has to offer. It links creativity with culture in a unique and seamless manner. It is during fashion week that you get to know your favorite designers and get in touch with their work. The aim of the fashion week is to:

  • Bring together brands and collection across the continent and from diaspora.
  • Enable media promotion and educative workshops.

Fashion designers

Ghanaian fashion design major players in the success of the fashion industry in Ghana. They are the driving forces of the changes happening in the industry. The fact that you can enjoy excellent fashion choices only goes to show that creativity is crucial for continuous success in the industry. For this reason, knowing some of the faces behind the great styles in the market is a plus. The following is a list of some of the best Ghanaian fashion designers. If you are interested in fashion advice, here are some of the names of the experts in Ghana fashion industry.

  1. Elikem Kumordzie Da Tailor
  2. Duaba Serwaa
  3. Vera Adu Amani – ADU Amani clothing
  4. Kweku Bediako – Chocolate clothing
  5. Kayobi – Kayobi Clothing line
  6. Tonyi Senayah – Horseman shoes
  7. Leslie Wiredu – Chapter 1 clothing
  8. Koffi Ansah

Ghana fashion awards

With the different designers and fashion week in place, it is only reasonable that there are awards for the most outstanding talents. These awards are categorized differently. The Ghana fashion awards are as follows.

  1. Male Model of the Year
  2. Accessory Designer of the Year- Sandals and bags
  3. Accessory Designer of the Year- Jewelry
  4. Male Fashion Celebrity Icon of the Year
  5. Female Fashion Celebrity Icon of the Year
  6. Duke Tetteh Fashion Photographer Of the Yeah
  7. Fashion Photographer of the Year
  8. Emerging Designer
  9. Designer of the Year

Fashion schools in Ghana

With the current growth in the fashion sector, a lot of people have shown interest in training in fashion related issues. This has led to the emergence of fashion schools in Ghana. These include:

  1. School of fashion and design Ghana
  2. Second image beauty school
  3. Riohs originate
  4. Vogue style school of fashion and design
  5. Jiffah fashion designing school
  6. Lebelt school of fashion

Following on the history and progress of fashion in Ghana it is easy to tell that the changes have been interesting. The fashion industry in Ghana keeps growing and expanding. This is greatly attributed to the efforts put in by Ghanaian fashion designers that ensure the country remains competitive and relevant fashion-wise. The mixing of African print with modern ideas makes the fashion industry alive and fresh. Ghanaian fashion will continue to grow and thrive at least if history is anything to go by.

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