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Every man needs one in their wardrobe

by kenya-tribune

I will not waste your time with a lesson on what a tuxedo is. I will instead talk about the differences between a tuxedo and a suit.

A tux traditionally has satin. A suit doesn’t.

A tuxedo is formal evening wear, something you would wear to a black tie event or a formal cocktail.

That said, while these are all western pieces of clothing and thus have a “traditional or conservative” look, Africans have been giving this formal piece of dress a very colourful twist. Africans have re-imagined tuxedos in ways that celebrate our culture. And I have compiled some images of this to further drive my point home:

King Kaka with his African print tux
Savara has given his suit an African touch with a Savara twist.

So why would you bother with these attention-grabbing pieces?

Because it is a statement. You want to walk into a room and without uttering a word, you’ve made a statement.

They are also unique. I prefer going for a more traditional blazer with the inside being leso print. At the end of the day, the blazer is unique in a good way. You walk into the banquet hall or conference room you are having the cocktail in and you stand out in a stylish way.

They are conversation starters. You rock your African print tuxedo and all of a sudden people are interested in talking to you. And do you know why this is? Dress as you would be addressed.

It is a celebration of our heritage. Most people have no idea about the fact that traditional cloth like gonja and kente is diverse because the Akan people used it to tell their traditional history. They had everything from “family crest” to hidden meanings.

The patterns have a meaning as do the colours chosen:

But not only the finished pattern has a meaning but every colour of it does. Here is a short list:

  • red – blood; strong political and spiritual feelings;
  • pink – calmness, tenderness, and similar qualities;
  • yellow – yolk of the egg; some fruits and veggies; holy and precious things;
  • gold – wealth, royalty, etc.;
  • white – white of the egg; white clay used in some rituals; healing; purity;
  • maroon – Earth; mother; healing and protection from evil;
  • purple – Earth; healing;
  • blue – sky; harmony, peace, good fortune, love;
  • green – plants; growth and good health;
  • silver – moon; purity and serenity;
  • gray – ashes; spiritual cleansing;
  • black – aging; strong spiritual energy, the spirits of the ancestors.

They are the African response to those who argue “lèse-majesté” of our alterations to their garb. This is a bit of a deep one. But in the fashion world, Africa for a long time has been seen and continues to be seen as a dark continent.

When we make something as beautiful as these suits, we show the world that Africa doesn’t understand fashion, we are fashion. We are style.

In case you’re curious about where you can get yourself some awesome duds, I will be introducing you to a guy, my guy, Sid Owino, a veritable sartorial genius who makes “made to measure” suits and tuxedos. Actually, check out some of his designs below and don’t forget to click the link in blue to get to his website:

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