Ivory Coast has a rich cultural heritage priding in more than sixty ethnic groups, the Baoulé, the Bété, Gouro or the Dioula are some of the ethnic groups in the country. They can broadly be divided into four main groups: Akan, Gour, Krou and Mandé.
In the country, traditional wedding has a large place in the hearts of the people. This is because the Ivorians see traditional wedding as an event of passage to adulthood.
However, across the country, the traditional outfit worn for weddings is the Kita fabric. Kita is considered as a traditional tissue of the ethnic Akans (Agnis, Baoulés, Abron, Attiés etc.) and Ashanti, Yoruba, Ewé, but also ethnic Krous (Bété, Dida, Godie etc.) Ghana and Côte d ‘ Ivory. Generally, this is a popular dress in West Africa, notably in Togo and Benin.
Originally from both Ghana and Ivory Coast, the kita clothing, also known as Kente is worn on special occasions and official ceremonies like traditional weddings.
Handmade, manufacture of kita consists in weaving cotton or silk threads, of several colors between them. Therefore, long strips are obtained, which are connected one after the other. This highly regarded as an ancestral cultural heritage that is handed down from generation to generation.However, with the kita having different colors with relative meanings, colors like, yellow, green, blue are the major colors worn for traditional weddings in Ivory Coast. The black color is solely alluded to expressing mourning. Here are the colors of kita with their respective meanings:
Yellow: symbolizes wealth, generosity of the earth, opulence and the sun.Green: expresses life, nature and caution.Blue: means wisdom, patience, humility, heaven and earth.White: symbol of purity, innocence, spirituality and peace.
Also, there are related meanings to the forms of the kita in Ivory Coast:
The square: symbolizes earth, femininity and the cosmos.The triangle: expresses birth, existence and death.The diamond: means the existential duality of existence and the destiny of man.The circle: it is the infinite and the divinity.
The cross: symbol of the elements of water and fire and strength.
Interestingly, the kita has become a staple of traditional outfits in the francophone country. Very much in vogue internationally, this fabric is worn by many celebrities and is today part of the new fashion trends of recent years.
When the Ivorian bride wears the kita dress, the brightness of the material usually speak rich of of the social legacy and customs of the country. Weddings are indeed one of most joyful and important days for each lady of the hour, hence, they always work together with their style planners to have all embellishments, frill and gems. Ivorian brides can seen donning in the kita fabric with a blouse and wrapper (pagne) style. Other women also choose to go for a kaftan style.
Today, Africans had almost lost their culture to the western styles for some decades as there was once a particular time we thrived to stay abreast with everything western. Nevertheless, African culture through fashion has tried to find away to turn this narrative around, thereby, we can start embracing the Afro-culture. This is evident in the kita dressing styles, especially at traditional weddings.
Amongst all the other traditional Ivorian cloths, the kita fabric remains the most popular fabric used to create stylish traditional Ivorian attires. Both the men and women folks wear this fabric. The different weaving patterns on the fabric is very appealing to the eye at events.
Often times at traditional weddings, a large piece of the cloth is draped across one shoulder, while the other is used to wrap around the waist. This is a typical and traditional Ivorian style for men. The attire could probably lens through the groom’s social status. In some instances, the Ivorian African wears style for men using the kita cloth has also been remodeled to suit the younger and well, more stylish generation. The kita now can be used to create outfits such as more stylish shirts, blazers and very nice trousers. These recreated styles are now evident in some traditional weddings in the country.
Furthermore, another stylish way to rock this cloth is make them into simple, round necked short sleeved shirts, complimented with really good trousers. Not every man loves or considers long sleeve shirts stylish. Hence, this will go perfectly with the man who is more comfortable in short sleeves.
With immense love for kaftan by typical African men, the trick for wearing a kaftan or making one is to be sure it perfectly suits your body. The kaftan is another Ivorian African wear style for men. For a more stylish look, most men go for embroideries around the neck, chest area and wrist. This kita can then be the icing of the cake of fashion style when added to make this design unique.