Kente is a type of cloth that originates in Ghana, West Africa. It comes from the word “kenten”, which means “basket” among the Akan people.
The cloth is characterized by bright and bold colors, with geometric shapes and patterns that carry certain meanings. According to Salm and Falola (2002), authors of ‘Culture and Customs of Ghana’, “Individual kente designs have specific symbolic meanings derived from a variety of historical, religious and sociocultural contexts” (p. 88).
Kente is not only beautiful visually, but it is also rich in meaning and cultural significance. Traditionally, Kente cloth was reserved for royalty and considered sacred, often set aside and worn only for important occasions.
What is Kente cloth made of?
Kente is composed of silk and cotton materials, made into interwoven cloth strips that are handwoven using a special loom. It is traditionally woven by Ghanaian men, making it distinct from other African cloth which are generally woven by women.
Where can I find Kente cloth today?
Edem Kowa, an entrepreneur from Ghana, has made Kente accessible to the world through selling bags handmade using Kente cloth on Aftown Mall.
Edem’s venture started out as a hobby, which turned into a business when he discovered an array of African products that were being marketed and branded poorly. He decided to source from these craftsmen and help them rebrand and market their products to a wider audience.
Edem knew that there wasn’t a Ghanaian brand for bags on the international market, so he wanted to be the first to break that barrier. In establishing his business, aptly named “Kowa”, his aim was not to just sell bags, but to show his heritage and his culture to the world, through Kowa products’ designs and choice of materials, especially authentic Kente cloth.
Here is a sample of a Kowa bag made out of Kente cloth.
Check out more stunningly unique bags made of Kente cloth by visiting the Kowa store on Aftown Mall.