The Central African Republic has had a severe history of unrest which has in a way maimed the culture of the country. Although the landlocked country is thriving to resurrect its drained culture, staying up to fashion is the way of life of the people.
Across the country, modest form of dressing is highly recognized and cultured as against sloppy and ‘indecent’ dressing, especially at public places. The Central African Republic is highly reputed in lengthy covered clothes for their women, at least a knee-length clothing.
As the country does not have a staple traditional dress for special events like weddings, most of the couples often times tend to import the dressing culture of neighboring countries to grace their day. Notable of these is wearing the Cameroonian Toghu print.
The Toghu print or Atoghu fabric is a notable and popular Cameroon’s print worn during traditional wedding celebration. This is owed to the beautiful texture of the fabric and its rich feeling on the skin. Toghu is a fabric from Bamenda in the North West region of Cameroon.
With the huge attention that Toghu has garnered outside Cameroon, the people of Central African Republic see much beauty donning in this attire for traditional weddings. Evidently, the Toghu is much adored across the Central African countries. Atoghu or Toghu depending on what is called across regions in Cameroon is mostly worn by royalty in the North West Province and Western Province of Cameroon. But, the colorful fabric is now being used at traditional wedding events to command splendor for that special day.
Basically, the traditional wedding in Central African Republic is reputed to be proudly inspired by the colors and flavors of the country.
The Atoghu traditional attire is regarded as an official and special outfit with decorations, and which invariably made it to be the most cherished garment in most cultures of Francophone countries.
Originally, Tugh was a cloth tissue bought from Calabar, Nigeria and stitched in a particular style to suit the taste and culture of these people. Designed and sewn for both men and women and as well as children. Fascinatingly, the fabric is called Ndep in Ndop, particularly the people of Bamessing.
The traditional Toghu is a plain black fabric with red, white, orange, green, and yellow woolen threads stitched atop in beautiful and intricate patterns. The patterns usually include the traditional gong, floral patterns, as well as other cultural symbols. The final product is always a rich complexity of patterns and a slew of colors for a unique and elegant finish. The toghu attire is indeed one of a kind in Africa.
Recently, the traditional dress has been recreated with modern styles by blending with different types of colored thread and calico materials for a more contemporary taste. The fabric is often handmade and also tailored, this is called marking.
To make lingering fashion statement for the great day, using a modern dashiki style for the groom and a peplum off-shoulder blouse and mermaid skirt for the bride would really make the couple stuns in traditional, yet modern look.
Basically, the fabric, color, and design of the Toghu fabric makes the bride and groom to depict traditional royalty in Central African Republic, although it is not their native traditional outfit. The Toghu fabric comes in tie-dyed silk or cotton embroidered design, but it is imperative to allow extra yardage for pattern matching when sewing your style. Some of the colors include red, yellow and white.
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In another instance, some couples of the country do opt for the Aso Oke fabric of Nigeria. This is a hand-woven cloth made by the Yoruba people. Literarily, this clothing denotes cloth is high status.
The fabric is always used to make men’s gowns (agbada/grand boubou), hats (fila). For the women, it is used to make wrappers/pagne, blouse, and head tie.
Traditional weddings in Central African Republic are deemed incomplete without the adornment of gold neckpieces for the bride to look glammed and adorable for that great day.
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