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:
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