.Everyone loves kente.

Kente is one of the most universally known and immediately identifiable African prints; literally translated it means basket or woven cloth. Kente originates from south Ghana, more specifically the Akan lands such as the Ashanti Kingdom. Originally the cloth of Ghanaian kings, a royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance. According to legend, the print was inspired by two brothers who went hunting and came across a spider spinning a web.

We love kente, but even the most afrocentric fashionistas are going to find it difficult to style a traditional tailored kente outfit on a day-to-day basis – see Dre from Black-ish:

Dre Black-ish Kente

This is exactly where Olotu fits: experience shows that going full on traditional will draw a lot of unwanted attention from friends and colleagues alike. At Olotu we have designed our Kente T to use the same strikingly bold and identifiable kente cloth print, but engineered with a European fit and manufactured from comfortable modern fabrics.

Another interesting fact about kente is that all of the colours within the print have symbolic meaning:

  • Black: maturation, intense spiritual energy, mystery, secrecy.
  • Green: symbol of life, growth and harmony; also represents harvesting, growth and spiritual renewal.
  • Gold / Orange / Yellow: the colour of gold; signifies royalty, wealth, high status and fertility.
  • White: the colour of purity, innocence and peace.
  • Blue: represents the sea and the sky; symbolizes peace, harmony and love.

Furthermore, the shapes within the print also hold their own symbolic meanings:

  • Triangle: represents the completeness of a man’s life.
  • Square: represents the earth and the cosmos.
  • Diamond: often worn by kings; represents the duality of monarch as both a man and a king

.Our Story.

Olotu was first conceived in front of a beach hut in the Indian Ocean – when we holiday, we always take time out and list all our wildest dreams. After writing down the concept of Olotu too many holidays in a row, we knew the time had come to start making it a reality.

In February 2017, we decided to pursue our dream of bringing tradition African prints to life on modern high street fashion combined with the comfort & styling of modern fabrics. The appeal of traditional African prints is self-evident, but they are only available on stiff batik wax print fabric and manufactured by your local African tailor. We’re passionate about preserving the history of African fashion and showcasing its bold and vibrant prints to the world, but we want to put our modern spin on it.

Here’s our story so far, after 10 months our dream is a reality with our first collection available for pre-order:

OK. So our dream has finally moved from talk, to our ‘vision board’, to materialisation. As with a lot of start-ups we have limited funds and since we’re not willing to compromise on quality, we’re launching with two sweats and two Ts – don’t panic though, we’ve got lot’s more designs dropping soon.