Men draping Kente on one arm a cultural practice or fashion statement?
by Chinazor Ikedimma on Sep 06, 2023
Wearing the Kente fabric with one arm is a traditional practice among some men in Ghana, where Kente originates. Kente is a colorful and intricately woven fabric that holds deep cultural significance in Ghanaian society. The way it is worn can convey specific meanings and messages, and different styles have different interpretations.
When Kente is draped over one shoulder and across the chest, leaving one arm exposed, it is often referred to as "throwing" or "slinging" the Kente. This style is known as "the shoulder wrap" or "the toga style." Here are a few reasons why men might wear Kente in this manner:
- Symbolism: The way Kente is worn can carry symbolic meanings. Wearing Kente over one shoulder and leaving one arm exposed can symbolize strength, power, and the ability to handle challenges. It's often associated with the idea of being ready for action or battle.
- Occasions: The shoulder wrap style is often reserved for special occasions such as festivals, weddings, funerals, and other significant cultural events. It's a way to showcase the importance of the event and the wearer's participation in it.
- Hierarchy and Prestige: In some cases, the style of wearing Kente could signify the wearer's status or role in society. Those in leadership positions or individuals of high prestige might choose to wear Kente in this manner to emphasize their authority.
- Fashion and Tradition: Wearing Kente over one shoulder is also a fashion statement and a way to connect with traditional Ghanaian culture. It's a visually striking way to display the intricate patterns and vibrant colors of the fabric.
- Personal Preference: Some men might simply prefer the aesthetics and comfort of wearing Kente in this style. It allows for ease of movement and provides a unique look.