The History of Kente Cloth

Kente cloth is a traditional hand-woven fabric from Ghana that is renowned for its intricate designs and vibrant colors. It is widely regarded as one of Africa’s most iconic fabrics and has become a symbol of African heritage and pride. The history of kente cloth in Ghana is long and fascinating, and it is a testament to the resilience and creativity of the Ghanaian people. Kente comes from the word kenten, which means “basket” in the Asante dialect of the Akan language, referencing its basket-like pattern. 

The origins of kente cloth can be traced back to the Ashanti Kingdom with the most popular town that produces the cloth being Bonwire. The Ashanti people, who are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and artistic skills, developed kente as a way of expressing their cultural identity and social status.

According to legend, the first kente weaver was a man named Karaban, who learned the art of weaving from a spider that he had observed spinning its web with his friend Amoaya. They used this knowledge to create a new type of fabric that was both beautiful and durable, and that became highly prized among the Ashanti people. They were both from Bonwire.

Over time, kente cloth evolved into a highly specialized art form, with weavers using a variety of techniques to create intricate patterns and designs. These designs often had symbolic meanings and were used to convey messages about social status, political power, and cultural identity. These days the kente patterns are even used for cotton wax print fabric popularly known as Ankara.

During the 19th century, kente cloth became more widely known and admired beyond the Ashanti Kingdom. Traders and merchants from other parts of West Africa began to carry it to other regions, and it eventually became popular throughout the continent.

In the 20th century, kente cloth gained international recognition, as more and more people outside of Africa began to appreciate its beauty and significance. It was worn by African leaders such as Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, who saw it as a way of asserting African cultural identity and challenging European imperialism.

Today, kente cloth remains an important part of Ghanaian culture and is used for a variety of purposes, from clothing and accessories to ceremonial and decorative objects. It is also exported to other countries around the world, where it is prized for its unique beauty and cultural significance. In the Volta Region of Ghana, they also have kente cloth. The patterns and colour combinations are different and people mostly call them Ewe Kente cloths. The looms that are used to weave this kente are practically identical. Some people even argue that kente originated from this place because the name kente means weave in some Ewe dialects.

In conclusion, the history of kente cloth in Ghana is a rich and fascinating story that reflects the creativity, skill, and cultural heritage of the Ghanaian people. From its origins as a symbol of social status among the Ashanti people to its national and international recognition as an iconic African textile, kente cloth is a testament to the enduring power of African art and culture.

The power of the African fashion industry on the continent

The African fashion industry has been on the rise in recent years, and it is becoming increasingly recognized on the global stage. African fashion is known for its vibrant colors, bold prints, and unique designs that reflect the rich cultural heritage of the continent. The industry is not only contributing to the cultural heritage of Africa but also has numerous benefits for Africans, including economic empowerment, job creation, and a sense of pride in their heritage.

Economic Benefits

One of the most significant benefits of the African fashion industry is its potential for economic empowerment. The fashion industry is a significant contributor to the African economy, with the potential to create jobs and generate income. The industry has also attracted significant investment from local and international companies, leading to the creation of new businesses and opportunities for African entrepreneurs. The industry has the potential to provide employment opportunities for millions of people in Africa, particularly in rural areas where job opportunities are scarce. Fashion brands in Africa that export their products also make a lot of income in foreign currency that supports their countries.

Promoting African Culture

Another benefit of the African fashion industry is that it promotes African culture and heritage. African fashion is deeply rooted in the continent’s cultural history and reflects the diversity and richness of its people. Through fashion, Africans can showcase their traditions and customs to the world and create a sense of pride in their heritage. African fashion is not only a form of expression but also a celebration of the continent’s past and present.

Promoting sustainability

The African fashion industry has also been instrumental in promoting social and environmental sustainability. Many African fashion brands are focused on using sustainable materials and production methods that minimize their impact on the environment. They also prioritize fair labor practices and support local communities through various initiatives. By prioritizing sustainability, African fashion brands are setting an example for the global fashion industry, which has long been criticized for its negative environmental and social impact.

In conclusion, the African fashion industry has numerous benefits for Africans, including economic empowerment, cultural promotion, and environmental sustainability. The industry has the potential to create employment opportunities, attract investment, and showcase the richness and diversity of African culture to the world. African fashion has come a long way, and it is exciting to see its continued growth and impact on the continent and beyond.

The deep meaning behind funeral cloths in Ghana

All over the world when someone dies there are customs and procedures that follow. Most times the family of the deceased person meet and decide on how to have the funeral, which is a ceremony to honour the life of a person when they pass away. Funerals most often have a dress code, of black. In parts of Africa, particularly Ghana. Funeral clothing doesn’t just end at the colour. There are certain prints and fabrics specifically designed for funerals. In the Akan language, Twi it’s called Eyie ntomaa which directly translates into funeral cloth. Funeral cloths in Ghana play a very important role. 

Funeral cloths in Ghana are mostly made of cotton but there are also polyester, silk and velvet options. For many tribes particularly in the middle and southern part of Ghana, the family of the deceased selects a particular pattern of cloth for the funeral. This is to show solidarity and also help other people who attend the funeral to easily identify close family and friends of the deceased. 

The selection of the cloth is not only made based on the beauty of the fabric but also the message it carries. Many funeral cloths in Ghana have names and meanings that can sometimes be seen at the hem of the fabric. Some popular funeral cloth names are Owuo sei fie (Death destroys homes), Wiase ben enie (what sort of life is this), Yen Adeɛ Kɛseɛ Bi Afriyensa (we have lost something big) among others. 

The most popular colours for funeral cloths are black, black and red as well as black and white. Most tribes have the funeral rites and rituals done wearing darker colours (black or black and red) and on Sunday wear a brighter colour (black and white) to celebrate the life of the deceased and give thanks for a successful funeral. 

The styles these funeral cloths are sewed in are completely left to the discretion of the individual. For women, the most popular style for funerals is a kaba and slit or a dress. Men, often wear a shirt with plain trousers or wrap the fabric with shorts underneath.

Differences between kente and batakari fugu fabric

 A lot of times when people see our handwoven smock fabric they call it kente. This needs to stop NOW! These are two very different fabrics and in this article, I will tell you why. First of all, let me acknowledge the people who work hard to make these beautiful pieces of art we call fabric. I’ve seen both smock fabric and kente being made and it’s such an amazing thing to behold. 

When I was in university I had the privilege to do my final year project work at the place kente began and its biggest production location yet, Bonwire in the Ashante Region. Kente is a handwoven fabric which is often made up of many vibrant colours and made with a loom. The weavers make beautiful patterns and shapes. The weaving is often done in strips and then sewed together to get cloths of different sizes. Kente fabric is mostly worn wrapped around the body or sewn into beautiful garments. In modern times kente is even used to make accessories like bags and shoes as well as decorations. These days the patterns and colours have evolved to the extent that some cloths even have metallic and shimmery looks to them. 

Kente is mostly worn to ceremonial events. These cloths are more expensive than most fabrics on the market because they are handmade and very unique. Kente prints and patterns have been replicated on cotton, silk, satin and other fabrics. Many people frown on this because they believe the essence of kente is being taken away. A lot of these kente replicas are made by Chinese companies which makes the case even worse. Kente fabric has appeared on several international runways by big high fashion brands.

Smock or batakari fabric is a handwoven fabric mostly from Northern Ghana. This fabric is made carefully in big looms which are often controlled by women. The main design is long stripes in various colours but often not many colours per cloth. The stripes often vary in size making the design a bit more conservative but unique as well. Smock fabric is also woven in strips and then handsewn together. 

The name batakari means a smock which is what most of these fabrics are used for. Smocks from northern Ghana come in many forms. They are often hand or machine sewn and lined nicely. Ex-President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings and John Mahama were two of the people who made smocks very popular among men in Ghana. Samira Bawumia, Ghana’s second lady also brought out the beauty of smock fabric with her high-end tailored dresses.

This smock fabric has been used to make so many things besides smocks and clothes. These days you can find bags, shoes and other fashion accessories made with batakari fabric. As compared to kente, fugu fabric is more affordable. The key difference between the two also lies in the style of weaving and the patterns. Kente patterns tend to be quite busy while fugu fabric is made up of stripes in different thicknesses and colours. 

At the end of the day, both fabrics look beautiful and one can choose either one based on preference. Sometimes you can even combine them. How cool is that? Can we all stop saying Northern kente now? 

The Reign Collection

During the Easter period, we launched a new collection called Reign. This beautiful collection of African-inspired clothes had a bold Christian feel to it with various elements of the passion of Christ. The main colours of the collection were red, black and white. Zedi has not had a redshirt in a long time and we brought one out with this collection. How daring right? The period of Easter does that to everyone. It makes us want to look back on the past and do more of the good things, change the bad things and just be better people in general. This was certainly what we did for this collection.

New fabric

The Reign collection came with two new fabrics. For our black and yellow shirt, we decided to pair the African print Ankara fabric with a twill polycotton instead of our usual polished cotton. We have been in getting requests to change our polish cotton fabric offering and we thought this would be the best time to do that. Another new fabric we introduced was a beautiful off-white brocade cloth. It had the perfect texture for the white dress we designed. We absolutely loved it.

Couple outfits

What is a Zedi collection without matching outfits that couples can wear? In the Reign collection, we have 2 perfectly matching outfits and one that is adorably complimentary. The red is certainly the one that stands out the most while the white is our most popular because in Ghana we love our white.

Lifestyle background

We did things a little differently this time when we were shooting this collection. The backdrop was wildly different from our usual grey or white. We added some props to have more of a lifestyle look. Still, on the Easter theme, we kept the colours earthy and solemn. The browns were sold and did not compete with the clothes at all. All in all, we loved it.

The Reign collection is available in our store. You can click here to order. We hope you like this collection as much as we do and you had an awesome Easter too 🙂

The Bolum Collection

When I was designing the recent Zedi collection I had a lot of ideas but wasn’t too sure how to express them. I took my time and woke up one day to see all the pieces fit together perfectly. It was like I was trying to do serious work in the darkness and then a light appeared and showed me the way. The word Bolum means light in my native language Buli.

I felt like for a while now I had been missing my mark but with this collection, my spark came back! The collection had to be shown to the world in style so we decided to have a virtual fashion show. I have never done this before nor seen anyone do a similar thing but it sounded awesome. On Friday, 10th December at about 6:20 pm, we aired our virtual fashion show which is approximately 3 minutes long. The show is scheduled to run all weekend on the website but with the number of views it’s getting we will keep it on longer. You can watch the show using the link below. The cool thing about virtual shows is that everyone gets front-row seats!

The collection is made up of 11 pieces with 6 for men and 5 for women. All the pieces have a bold and bright spark to them. With the clothes, there was a combination of fun and classy colour blends with traditional African wear cuts as well as some western silhouettes.

One exciting thing about this collection is a particular fabric we designed ourselves! Chiffon tie and dye fabric are not very common in Ghana but we wanted to definitely make a pretty little dress with it. The fabric turned out very beautiful and so is the dress.

My brand always tries to do new and improved things every time we get the chance and even though sometimes we fail this time we didn’t and I am so proud. Please check out our collection in our store.

Fabric Shopping at Makola Market in Ghana

A lot of designers find inspiration in lots of things. For us most of our inspiration comes from the fabric we use. The bold prints, the colours, the way they come together to form something beautiful is just so amazing. In Accra there’s no other place to shop for fabric than at Makola, the capital’s biggest market! Shopping for fabric in Makola is just an exciting activity for so many creatives. Trust me it’s not just me. The market sells a very wide range of fabric in any quantity imaginable. From 1 yard to multiple rolls you can get practically anything you want.

Photo credit :

We love African Ankara print fabric and whenever we enter the market we get overwhelmed because of the options to choose from. We have an article about the names of many popular prints. Check that out here. Over the years we have figured out how to keep things in check and the word here is planning! A good plan is necessary before going to Makola to shop for fabric. We usually have colours and pattern types we are looking for. There’s no doubt that sometimes we go off the main plan a little but having a plan makes things lightyears easier. For our most recent collection, Flothes our main colours were black and blue. We wanted fun fabric but with a strong black presence. This guided our shopping activities.

Photo credit :

When it’s fabric shopping day we usually get to Makola market in the morning with a list. We have a number of sellers we usually buy from but we don’t limit our search to just them. It’s so much fun going around and seeing what is available. After at least an hour of walking we usually have all we need, certainly with some impulse buys here and there. The market is just so tempting. On our way back to our workshop we are always dreaming with ideas and designs. A shirt with the blue shell print fabric or a nice shift dress with the yellow Angelina Ankara print fabric will do.

ACCRA, GHANA – August 10, 2015: Informal worker Martha Kotey selling fabrics at Makola market August 10, 2015 in Accra, Ghana. (Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images) FULLY RELEASED – CONSENT NUMBER: ACC005

If you want more information about Makola Market you can read about it here. Have you been to Makola market to buy African print fabric before? How do you keep calm? 

Ankara African Print fabric names and meanings we love

African print fabric often also referred to as Ankara often have very interesting names and meanings. Each cloth comes with a unique piece of history that is worth knowing. We don’t design or select fabric based on their names or meanings but sometimes the influence happens even unconsciously. Below are some of our designs and the names of the the prints we used to make them.


This is a word in Twi, a local language in Ghana. It means a good woman. We absolutely love this print. The pattern’s main symbol kind of looks like something in between a flower and the atom molecule symbol in science. Science and flowers are a weird combination but if you consider science to be the study of nature maybe we could have something here.

In our Zedi top on the right below, the print we used had a pretty feminine twist to it with one side being very floral and the whole thing being a bright pink and turquoise colour. Click here to buy this top!

Fish Scale

Just like the name this cloth if you look carefully you will notice some kind of scaly pattern. The name of this cloth is straight to the point and very visual. These type of names are easy to remember.

Our Fisa collection featured this cloth. Read more about our Fisa collection here if you haven’t already. The collection is a reminder to all of us to enjoy the little things in life. This inspiration came to us during the rough pandemic centered year, 2020. Since fish scales are rough it fits in so perfectly! Shop for this shirt here.


This is an oldie but goldie. Growing up the hibiscus flower was very popular especially in Tamale in northern Ghana. This cloth also has a visual name like the Fish Tail cloth. Even though it’s not a modern print it has become popular over the years. My guess it’s because of its white background which is quite rare in African wax print cloths.

Our Zedi shirt dress is super fun and girly. It’s certainly pretty like as hibiscus flower and we gave it white raglan sleeves to accentuate the white background in the African print cloth. Click here to buy this dress.

Pepper leaf

The pepper leaf cloth is a very popular African Ankara print cloth. Like most of these prints it comes in a wide range of colours. The cloth has many leaf elements or symbols in different shapes and styles. Even though there’s no symbol of pepper in the cloth my guess it’s called the pepper leaf because of the size of the leaves. Pepper leaves tend to be pretty small.

Our shirt in the pepper leaf print is super simple but fun! We chose a friendly colour for men and chose earth tones. Isn’t it a spicy shirt? Order one here.

The household gravel

The household gravel is an extremely popular African print fabric and one of our favourites! This cloth is so versatile. We have used it for both men and women’s clothes. Like the name implies the print looks like gravel stones of different sizes all lined up nicely.

We love to design with this cloth and I honestly don’t see us stopping anytime soon. You can shop for our sky blue household gravel shirt here. Shop for our top here and our fun dress here.

Zedi Christmas collection 2020, Fisa

Christmas is such a happy time. Even if you don’t celebrate it at least you appreciate the holidays right? We are so excited to announce that our new collection will be coming out soon! It’s no , it’s been a while since we released some fresh designs so we are giving you 8 really adorable pieces of clothing! We have a few things to share about this collection called the Fisa Christmas Collection.

Photo by KoolShooters on

The Fisa Christmas Collection

First and foremost it’s called the Fisa Christmas collection. Fisa in Buli, a language in the Upper Eastern region of Ghana means little. Don’t worry this doesn’t mean the collection is made up of 3 clothes. We called it Fisa because this year, 2020 has made us appreciate the little things in life we take for granted that truly matter. The pandemic and so many things that happened in 2020 was a big eye opener to everyone in the world.

We had take for granted things like being able to go out without lockdowns, breathing without masks, the ability to comfortably touch, hug and be close to people.

We are strong together

The Fisa Christmas collection is made up of 8 beautiful items of clothing with strong and confident prints! All over the world people have come together to achieve so much. One person is little but it takes many one persons to form a strong force. When there was a massive explosion we witnessed how many people came from all over Lebanon to help. These random acts of kindness is what makes us human.

Photo by Pixabay on

Black lives really matter

When George Floyd was killed by Police in America the Black Lives Matter movement took to the streets to protest because they had had enough. It was heartbreaking watching the video of how Floyd was handled by the police officers. In our Fisa collection we couldn’t help but be influenced by this gross injustice! The one single colour that runs through our collection is black. Black lives matter and black is very beautiful and must be respected.

Photo by Life Matters on

Limited edition pieces

We have a number of pieces in the Christmas collection that are available in limited quantities and will not be reproduced. We strongly recommend buying anything you like immediately you see it on our shop page.

The release date of the Zedi Christmas collection is Monday 14th December, 2020. Also, for this month December we are offering free gift boxes and free delivery as well. Double awesomeness right?! Who is ready?

Top Ghanaian celebrities who love local clothes

In Ghana dressing up in clothes and accessories made in the country was made very popular a few decades ago with the introduction of Friday Wear. This was an initiative to get Ghanaians so patronize clothes made locally. As a result, today the made-in-Ghana trend is still on! Therefore, a lot of people like to wear African prints also known as Ankara in various styles from shirts to dresses to bags. Celebrities are certainly not left out in this. In actual fact there are some top Ghanaian celebrities who love wearing local clothes and look phenomenal in them. These are our favourite three.

Okyeame Kwame

Okyeame Kwame can in a way be called an ambassador for everything made in Ghana. He almost always has on something bright and beautiful. And most times he bought it from a local designer or even designed himself! This musician also makes it a point to preach about the benefits of patronizing local products. His fun and funky style is one to be admired and he even gets his whole family to dress up in African clothes. This is one man who is pro colour!

Photo Credit – Ghana News


M.anifest, one of Ghana’s brilliant rappers, loves to wear clothes made in Ghana. His kaftan and beads loving self is always hard to miss in any crowd. Manifest has a unique style and isn’t afraid to express it. He used to be the brand ambassador for Woodin. This is a popular fabric and garment company that produces locally. On the international scene M.anifest always carries Ghanaian fashion in a good light. He has been true to this for a very long time. 

Photo Credit – Efoclusive

Samira Bawumia

It is true that most wives of Presidents and Vice presidents in Ghana usually wear clothes produced locally. That being said very few rock it like Samira Bawumia, the second lady. Samira has been a fashion icon in Ghana even before her husband became vice president of the country. With this new appointment we honestly expected to see her in more foreign suits and blazers. Samira stayed true to her fashion sense and wowed us with her amazing clothes mostly made with smock fabric from Northern Ghana. Check out our article on smock fabric here. We love them! Samira has played a major role in the popularity of smock fabric inspired designs by many fashion designers including ours and we absolutely love her for this! 

Photo Credit – Bra Parucci Africa

Having Ghanaian celebrities wear local clothes is a good sign of the interest Ghana has for local fashion. We really hope more celebs fall in love with Ghanaian designs in the future.