Perhaps the most uplifting part of the Olympics each year is the Parade of Nations. Each country enters the arena proudly carrying their flag, and some, like Ghana, come out in high style. Ghana could not be missed.
Their stunning entrance was thanks to the vibrant colors and intricate patterns of kente fabric.
Kente is the most recognized African fabric and is artistically woven by the Asante people of Ghana and the Ewe people of Ghana and Togo. Kente prints like those worn by the Ghana Olympics Team are much cheaper and easier to find than woven kente. (You can browse the gorgeous kente print in the Tess World Designs shop.)
1. Kente is woven in strips that are about 10 cm wide. To create a cloth big enough to wear, strips are sewn together.
Image: by vickisee via Flickr CC
2. Kente patterns are not just beautiful; traditionally, each pattern has a different meaning. (Don't worry--we'll share these in a future blog post.)
3. Traditionally, kente is worn for special occasions, draped over the shoulders like a toga for men, and wrapped around the torso and waist for women. Nowadays, you'll find kente in everyday life and used as patterns for hats, shoes, and other accessories.
Image: kente3 by John Nash via Flickr CC
Image: kente57 by John Nash via Flickr CC
4. The origin of the word kente is highly contested. It is not the original word used by any of the tribes who create this cloth. The Asante people call the strip-woven cloth ntama or ntoma, and the Ewe people call this cloth avɔ or ɖo.
5. No matter where you come from, kente will look good on you!
Image: Kente by Utenriksdepartementet UD via Flickr CC
Browse the shop and choose your favorite kente print at Tess World Designs. Here are just a few: