Senegalese fashion – from traditional to modern

Should a trip to the Continent include a trip to Senegal? I say ‘Yes!’

Senegal once a French colony is now an interesting west African country that remains heavily influenced by French culture.  It has long been considered one of Africa’s model democracies, with a tradition of stable governments  and civilian rule.

Once, the economy was based on slaves, ivory and gold which was exported from the coast during 17th and 18th centuries. Now the economy is mainly based on agriculture.  Money sent home by Senegalese living abroad is a key source of revenue.

The Dakar is the capital of Senegal. It’s an Atlantic port on the Cap-Vert peninsula. The city is vibrant and displays cultural artefacts including artwork, clothing, drums, accessories and carvings.

Senegalese artist from the house of Sylvie.

Below the works of an Ivorian artist Armand Boua shown at the Galerie Cecile Fakhoury in Dakar:

Dakar  has been considered as the most European city in the whole of Africa.

Notably, the Senegalese fashion styles are of a stylish quality and driven by sophistication,  but they retain the African traits.

On my first visit to Senegal, I could not but notice the original, but unique combination of styles and designs, mixeding traditional African motifs with European French styles. After all – France is known as one of the fashion centres of Europe!

Even people in poor areas pay attention to their style and appearance.Senegalese men and women, could have holes and worn out shoes, yet their clothes would be freshly laundered. Senegalese women desire to be fashionistas. Despite their age or social status, they tried to dress in a fashionable and attractive way.

Senegalese elegant wear. 

Most traditional outfits were long gowns coupled with turbans.   Fabric is made of ankara, lace, chiffon, Indian and Asian cloth- often worn on special occasions.



Senegalese kaftan styles.

A Senegalese kaftan known as a boubou or mbubb in Wolof (the native language of Senegal) is an ankle length garment  and is worn with matching drawstring pants called a tubay . The style is worn with a fez or an adorned cotton hat.

Senegalese embroidery designs. 

Embroidered patterns on the Senegalese gowns are signatures for their styles. They are mostly handmade embroidered designs, best illustrated on wedding gowns.  Fabrics used are chiffon, lace or brocade.

Senegalese modern fashion 

The Senegalese fashion designers are strongly influenced by the European Community and therefore follow the modern trends. However some designers try to remain true to their traditional clothing due to the dominance of Islamic communities. Senegalese fashion designers remain at risk of being frowned upon by their elders and the more traditionalists, but their catwalks comprise models showing new things like backless dresses, miniskirts and trouser suits.

Senegal is rich in history, diversity, art, music and culture.

It was great seeing the beaches before sunset-full of hundreds of joggers, weight trainers and even step and aerobic participants- clearly taking their  good health and well-being seriously.

I smiled warmly noting even the Senegalese dog lovers jogging with their canine friends. ?

Senegal ?? is a must!

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