Soccer, music, food and many aspects of language and culture might be strong forces of bridging Africa to the rest of the world but the bus does not stop with only these most loved forms of entertainment and identities.
Egyptian fashion designer, Yasmine Khattab, who traveled widely across Africa, is attempting to bring the continent together through her new designs.
In a new collection of turbans inspired by elements existing in African countries that she has visited, Khattab is incorporating ideas that reunite the continent and its people, deeper than before.
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Inspired mostly from her travels through Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria, the designer, known for her innovative styles, decided to use the on-going African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019) to announce her new styles, although she was initially skeptical about the idea.
Against that fear, her new African style for veiled women surprised her when it began to attract many successes not only in Egypt, but also in places like Dubai, France, Maghreb, Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Among them is the gele or a headdress from Nigeria. It is very famous in West Africa and especially worn for almost all ceremonies and occasions. And they are worn in very many styles, designs and even fabric.
In Ghana, the popular headgear is called duku, and it is traditionally worn by women of royal-decent, and also by many women during festivals, marriages, or even naming ceremonies for babies. Many religious organisations also encourage their women to always cover up their heads by using these headgears.
In South Africa, the doek is a head tie that is a worn by their women, mostly formed from the cloths they use. The head tie is used as an ornamental head covering or fashion accessory, or for functionality in different settings.
As a way of properly achieving the goal of bridging the continental gap with fashion, through her turbans, Khattab’s designs followed the train of styles from these different countries that she had visited, blending the different materials like cotton, gabardine, silk and Viscose, as well as the merging of fabrics from Egypt, the rest of Africa and India in her designs.
Khattab’s styles include the African Snake, which is inspired by popular headgear designs from Ghana and Nigeria, with special designs showcasing the movement of snakes.
Her African Woman style, epitomizing the African with her dark skin and curly hair, appears as a print on some turban’s designs, while the High Volume Look is a hijab style of African women, which depends on twisting more than one layer of fabrics on top of their heads to give a high volume look. According to her, she got this final look with less effort.
It is worth mentioning that India is one of the most popular countries for the use of turbans in the world. Face2FaceAfrica.com highlighted the unique and smart story of how some African-Americans hid behind the wearing of the Indian turbans to escape the symbol of segregation.
The turbans feature many variations and are mostly worn as customary headwear by people of various cultures. Communities with prominent turban-wearing traditions can be found in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Wearing turbans is common among Sikhs, including women. The headgear also serves as a religious observance, including among Shia Muslims who regard turban-wearing as Sunnah Mu’akkadah (confirmed tradition).