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.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56484264

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 Year Of Return 2019

It has been 400 years since the first slave ship arrived in the West to commence the largest and most devastating slave trades the world has ever seen. This year Ghana has named it the Year of Return. This event is inviting members of the diaspora to return to the motherland. 

Who has visited Ghana

This initiative was launched in 2018 by the Ghana Tourism authority and the Ministry of Tourism. Ghana already being a popular destination for many people diaspora is offering far more than just a trip. The usual sand, sea and sun tourism is cool but in addition an experience of the slave trade that will teach many people about their roots will feature. Since January a large number of people in the diaspora including celebrities have visited Ghana. Some of them include Steve Harvey, Kofi Kingston, Danny Glover, Ludacris and Cardi B.

Finding roots

The Year of Return is not only about the dark times of the slave trade but also a opportunity to enjoy the motherland. There is a long list of activities and events planned for the whole year with a lot in December. It’s the perfect time to connect with your roots and make new ties with Ghanaians. Ghana has the friendliest people in Africa. The top events in December include Afrochella, Afronation, Panafest and the Osu Street Carnival.

Visit Ghana

We are excited about the Year of Return because it helps us share our stories with the world. Often times many people abroad or in the diaspora only hear the bad African stories. The horror stories spread like wildfire but with now many people will come and experience for themselves the beauty, diversity and richness of Ghanaian culture and send these real life stories to the world. 

If you see us at any of the Year of Return fairs or concerts do well to stop by and say hello or shop at our store here. 😊

Why we love Northern smock fabric

In recent times if you follow our collections you will notice a decent amount of hand woven striped fabric in our designs. If you haven’t seen this before then let me introduce you to smock fabric from Northern Ghana also known as fugu material. Similar to Kente by the Ashanti, this fabric is woven with a pretty complex loom. It takes anywhere between a day to 4 days to complete a cloth of native smock fabric. They are woven in strips and sewn together.

It comes in a wide range of colours

We absolutely love this fabric for a number of reasons. Number one is that it comes in a wide range of colours and designs. True they are all stripes but the thickness and intervals make for very cool designs that have that added simplicity we know you love 😍 So far we have used about 6 different colour patterns and styles of smock fabrics for shirts and dresses. A little hint for you… We have more coming soon! Woohoo!

It is versatility

Another cool thing about Northern smock fabric is the fact that they can be used for both clothes and accessories! Did you see our Fugu multi backpack? Even though these are out of stock all you need to do is say the word and we will make some more! Our new collection of slippers have this cool fabric representing as well. We have a pair that matches a shirt we have so you can buy a pair to match with bae. Adorable right?

It’s unique

Finally the thing that makes us fall in love with fugu or Northern smock fabric the most is the fact that it’s not exactly common. Show me more than 2 people wearing a shirt or slippers at an event and I will give you a free gift! If any of them bought it from our Zedi shop it doesn’t count though 😁


Spicy Friday Wear Ideas

When the Friday wear initiative was started many years ago in Ghana, a lot of local designers and clothing makers were excited. For one day in the week, that’s Friday workers all over the country were to wear something made in Ghana to work. A number of people imagined workers walking around in frumpy clothes made with local prints but the fashion forward people showed how exciting this could be. Fast forward to today many workers are looking their best on Fridays. If you are clueless on how to make this work here are some spicy ideas.

 

A cool print shirt with trousers
For men you can’t go wrong with a nicely tailored print shirt with a pair of plain trousers. To keep it fresh and professional opt for dark or neutral colours. Too many colours can easily make you look like you are going for a beach party. The navy blue Tagri shirt is a good choice for Friday wear. To buy one click here.


African print blazer

Interestingly enough this trend works for both men and women pretty nicely. It’s always awesome to have a blazer or jacket made of African print. Nothing says formal and African like it. To make this outfit flawless stick to solid coloured clothing for everything else besides the blazer like trousers, skirts and inner shirts. With so many types of blazer styles women can rock this trend is filled with endless ideas. A peplum blazer, sleeves blazer are just a few ideas to set the ball rolling for you. Zedi makes blazers on a custom made basis. Click here to order one.

 

Smock and smock inspired clothes

The smock from Northern Ghana has made its way into fashion in recent times after ex presidents and the current second lady Samira Bawumia presented their versatility to us. A full smock is awesome for Friday wear as all you need to wear with it are trousers. If your office ac is overzealous at least the smock will keep you warm. Talk about functionality. Smock inspired clothes are also very in vogue at the moment like shirts and dresses with a bit of the unique woven fabric. Zedi has a wide range of smock inspired shirts and dresses. Click here to go to our shop.


Friday wear doesn’t have to be boring or frumpy. With these tips you can bring your A game to the office the next time it’s Friday and ‘chop some fans’ 😁 What’s your favorite Friday outfit?