Let's talk about African Fashion. What is African Fashion ? Many of you think Africa is one big happy family which dresses alike, eat the same foods, have the same culture and acts the same. I'm sorry to say NO!, that is not what Africa is all about. Let me be clear, Africa is not a country. Africa is a Continent. A continent is a region or an area, just like saying North America, South America or Asia, all of these regions/continents aren't countries. There is no country called North America and there's absolutely no country called Africa. So if Africans are called by their continent as Africans, then it should be okay to call Americans from North America as North Americans right? fair right? All these continents contains countries. North America continent has 23 countries where as the continent of Africa has 54 countries not states, countries! All of these countries have their own unique fashion style, art and cultures. Take for example Mexico and the United States, these two countries are both in North America, so they are both Americans with two different fashion styles and cultures. Just like China and India are in the continent of Asia, they both have different fashions believes and cultures and so is Botswana, Egypt and Morocco, they both are in the continent of Africa but they stand on their own with fashion style, culture and beliefs.
In Botswana, where Fashion Designer Tebo Dambe designed clothes for Team Botswana for the London Olympics in the UK, is very peaceful, young populated, the fashion style there is nowhere close to the painted to be "African Fashion Clothing" with bright colors that everybody calls African clothing. Nope, not there. Yes those bright color fabrics can be found in other countries. Other people from other countries buy them and use them to make clothing.
Botswana, is known for Diamonds, the luxurious clean Diamonds not blood diamonds with Debswana Diamonds being based in the capital Gaborone. Debswana Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd is amongst the world’s leading producers of diamonds, and was established as a 50/50 partnership between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers Group of Companies. Therefore with this much luxury in Botswana, The people and the fashion style here is on another level. Mostly seen at events and or weddings. This is one big reason why Prince Harry and Princess Meagan Markle flew all the way from the United Kingdom to go buy a Diamond Engagement ring in Botswana leaving lots of diamonds in the United Kingdom and the United States. Botswana is one country you should save money for and visit for sure, we would be happy to assist.
The Botswana fashion however is very European inspired since the country was British colonized. The locals there come dressed to impress with gowns, suits and red bottom heels especially at events or even at funerals. They are serious with their attire. They go all out by custom making clothes just to attend someone's wedding. It is not the typical African attires you might have seen with bright colors and all. The locals love using a known fabric called Leteisi which they have adopted from South Africa and many are now using it in garments for special events and so forth. There is no fabric that originates from Botswana.
Cows however, dominate the population of Botswana. Botswana is pro·nounced (Boo-tswana not Baah-tswana, saying Baah-tswana is like saying Americans, so it's incorrect. It's Boo-tswana, just like saying my Boo). There are more cows in Botswana than the people. That means lots of steak and leather goods. Botswana is also blessed with wild animals and by no means do the people of Botswana live on trees with wild animals and walk around naked. There's mansions similar to the ones in Beverly Hills and Hollywood Hills, big houses, fancy restaurants serving typical rice, lots of steak, chicken, sausages, beets, butternut, salads and so forth. These are the typical foods there. Botswana has all Organic foods and very normal there. The people drive every luxury car you can think. The typical Benz, BMW's, Range Rovers, Audis and the like, they are all there.
The Tourist attraction is great with nice lodges and hotels and the Okavango Delta and many tourists gravitate to seeing wild animals and leaving fancy hotels to go live in the bush and go camping just so they can say the typical "I was in Africa" by showing and taking pictures of the Bush as this is what the media has tainted to be Africa. This does not mean this is how the people in Africa live by living in bushes and walking around naked. It is simply a tourist location and what has been created as a Belief of what Africa is and should be, so some tourists visit Africa with that mindset. There's plenty of bushes and wild animals and people walking around naked here in America, you don't have to fly to Africa to see that, or you can just visit the San Diego zoo or go to the nearest Bush.
"When people ask me to make African clothes, I really can't relate because I know exactly what they are referring to; the typical bright color clothing. Where I come from, we do not dress like that. Botswana is known for its good leather, wild animals and diamonds, these are where Tebo Dambe designs originate from. Since the country was British Colonized, Tebo Dambe designs are European inspired, mostly formal attires as the locals there, the young crowd love to be seen in offices and at events in custom pieces that no one has", says Miss Tebo Dambe with a smile.
In the new Tebo Dambe 2019 collection, we use lot's of Black and White which was inspired by the Zebra colors and the boldness of the designer's personality with no gray areas. She's either a yes or no, never in between. Miss Tebo Dambe is the Designer who dresses the world of Africa featured on Forbes Africa, Marie Claire, Lifetime TV and many others. She is mostly precise in her decision making, very straight forward and blunt with a soft side. When wearing the CEO and Fashion Director hat, she posses strength, but when hats are off, she's fun and easy going. You will see the construction and boldness from her personality implemented throughout the collection and the fun side of her and her free spirit by using fun colors. We picked Green for this collection symbolizing growth, the grass greenery, the zen of a golf course and the perseverance of designer Tebo Dambe's personality.
Most African's I know are bold, fearless and hardworking. This is Africa you didn't know.
P.S - Note: Although we cannot change the myth of what "African Clothes" are considered to be, all we can do is educate. Every country in Africa has unique styles and cannot be all categorized as African Clothes, pick a country to fully identify it's culture not a continent.