The way Tanzanians dress shows how rich they are in culture and tradition. The traditional outfits of these people are quite different because of the numerous layers of fabrics wrapped around them.
They add jewelries to suit their clothes and design. The attire can be seen as over-colored or overdressed by visitors. The country is characterized by over hundred different ethnicities and these ethnic groups have their own unique fashion sense.
Each tribe has its folk garment, decorations, and style. However, you may find it difficult to pinpoint where an attire comes from in the country.
The men’s fashion style is referred to as “Kanzu” and “Kanga ” is the traditional clothing for women.
Traditional Fashion Styles in Tanzania for Men
The typical male attire for men is called the Kanzu. The clothing is a beige or white-colored robe worn mostly by men in the African Great Lakes region, which is where Tanzania is situated.
In the past, the Kanzu was originally made from silk. Today, synthetic fabrics like polyester is used. The Tanzanian Kanzu is unlike other robes used in several countries, although they have similarities. The Kanzu features a tassel that hangs from the collar of the robe.
For the official occasions or events, the men have to wear a Kanzu. This is a European-style suit jacket. It is also the traditional cloak called Bisht, alongside the traditional cap. During wedding ceremonies or some other festivities, the tassels are scented with Arabic or African oils.
However, the Maasai tribe has a different approach to this outfit with more colorful attires than the women. Some of the preferred colors include yellow, blue, beige, and brown.
Traditional Fashion Styles in Tanzania for Women
For the women of Tanzania, they wear what we called the Kanga . The Kanga is a rectangular cotton cloth. This cloth measures about 1.5m in width and 1m in length.
This outfit is used by many women to make statements. Since many of them are not allowed to be bold in the public, they express themselves when they rock these traditional clothing.
Some Tanzanian females turn to wear kangas with sharp sayings printed on them. To them, these garments are their voice.
Usually, the printed patterns on the borders of the cloth are different from the ones at the center of the cloth. There is another garment used in Tanzania, similar to Kanga. It is called “kitenge”. This piece is worn in West, East, and Central Africa. Kitenge is also a rectangular cloth but the fabric is thicker than the Kanga. This piece is worn and used in the household similarly to the Kanga.
Regardless of the advent of western culture, you can find many Tanzanians using their traditional attires in modern days. It is no doubt that Western-style outfits are very popular in the country, but locals wear their folk outfits daily as well. To the women of Tanzania, the Kanga is not just a dress, it is an honored tradition, a means to express your beliefs, thoughts, and opinions. This is why the folk clothing of Tanzania will continue to live on. It is their culture and culture never dies.
Traditional fashion styles in Tanzania are already taking the centre stage in the world of African fashion, but it is important to showcase these Tanzanian fashion styles at different fashion shows to garner much attention.