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Dresses in Kenya – Dressing and Clothing in Kenya

Dresses in Kenya

Dresses in Kenya: Apart from the national flag, Kenya is yet to have a national dress that transcends the diverse ethnic divisions. With each of the more than 42 ethnic communities in Kenya having its own traditional practices and symbols that make it unique, this is a task that has proved elusive in the past. However, several attempts have been made to design an outfit that can be worn to identify Kenyans.

Official Dresses in Kenya 

The most recent effort was the “Sunlight quest for Kenya’s National Dress”. A design was chosen and though it was unveiled with much pomp at a ceremony in which public figures modeled the dress, the dress design never took hold with the ordinary people.

Kitenge a cotton fabric made into various colours and design through tie and dye, and heavy embroidery, is generally accepted as the African dress. Though used in many African countries, Kitenge is yet to be accepted as an official dress as it is only worn during ceremonies and non-official functions.

Dresses in Kenya – Maasai Dresses

The Maasai wear dark red garments to symbolise their love for the earth and also their dependence on it. It also stands for courage and blood that is given to them by nature. The Khanga, Lesso, is another cloth that is in common use in practically every Kenyan home. The Kanga is a piece of clothing about 1.5 m by 1 m, screen printed with beautiful sayings in Swahili (or English) and is largely worn by women around the waist and torso.

Dresses in Kenya: Dressing and Clothing in Kenya

Largely men in Kenya wear trousers and shirts and women dresses in skirts.

Women also often cover their heads with scarves. Muslims have near uniform dressing, with the ‘hijab’ for women and kanzu for men.

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The kofia (cap) is another characteristic head cover for Muslim men and Swahili people at the Coast. Each cap is recognizable by the patterns on it, and the embroidery design indicates its origins: Lamu, Mombasa or Malindi.

Dresses in Kenya

Dresses in Kenya

Dresses in Kenya – Video