Middle age women takeover African print style
Some tailors in Kimironko market, Kigali city-Gasabo district say middle age women make the biggest number of the customers that buy and have clothes tailored using African print fabric (Kitenge).
With the fashion industry growing a lot of people have their clothes locally made using different materials especially western and some use kitenge, an African print fabric that identifies with their origin.
However, some local designers say young people think the African fabric is for the old and buy used clothes imported to Rwanda.
Bernadette Mukarutesi, a tailor in Kimironko market said “It’s rare to wear a certain print alone because they are printed in thousands of metres. This is why youth opt for unique used clothes leaving Kitengi for women.”
Emerithe Mutezimana, also a tailor connected it with culture saying young people believe African fabric is meant to be worn by old women.
“Culture plays a big role. Some people have negative attitude despite of the turnaround of Kitengi in today’s fashion,” She said.
Kitenge or chitenge is an African garment often worn by women wrapped around the chest or waist, over the head as a head gear.
Kitenges are similar to Kangas and kikoyi, but are of a thicker cloth and have an edging only on a long side. Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Sudan among others are some of the African countries where kitenge is worn.
The printing on the cloth is done by a traditional batik technique. Many of the designs have a meaning. A large variety of religious and political designs is found as well as traditional tribal patterns. The cloth is used as material for dresses.
Apart from dresses, African print can be used on occasions and in many ways like decorative pieces, gifts to young women and they can be framed and hanged as wall art.