The Akan people are revered to be the establishers of the Kente cloth legend and its preceding encompassed prospects. Hailing from West Africa, the Akans have a rich culture. Like many African communities, they possess the colossal aspect of legends and myths strategically fabricated and knitted into the very existence the people, customs, and beliefs.
Similarly, the Akan people bore the majestic legend of the Kente Cloth and have potently transpired and transcribed the prospects of the legend to various aspects of life. Historically, the Kente Cloth is inspired by the distinct and unique web designs of the Ananse- A mystical and mythical spider revered to a have been existence over 400 years ago.
The spider was first sighted by two allies (Krugu and Watah) who were out hunting when they happened to come across it by chance as it made its web. They assimilated this design when they returned home and replicated the same designs onto their clothing’s and relevantly became a new revelation to their community.
1. The spider and its relation to kente cloth
First, the core factual aspect that has been closely linked and equated to the Ananse mythical spider web is the similarity in the Kente cloth designs to the Ananse. Potently, with a rich herb of historical chronology being revered to the Ananse spider, the Kente Cloth relevantly bore the mark of uniqueness and greatness as did the Ananse spider.
Interestingly, the Ananse web is designed in what appear to be a 3 tier module whereby there are deep forms of art and classical appeals to it. The same designs have been replicated to the Kente Cloth predominant in West Africa and associated to hierarchy and riches.
2. Kings attires and supremacy
The Akan people have their roots in the Ashanti dominion that existed between 1701 to 1957. During this era there existed a Monarchial system of leadership and hence Kings ordinarily assimilated the Kente Cloth as per the Ananse spider web legend in order to symbolize greatness and supremacy.
As such, with trade and modern relations, the Ashanti Kingdom assimilated silk and cotton apparels for the Kings and his concubines. The Kente Cloth became accessorized with modern fashion and aspects.
3. Kumasi as the Pioneer of Kente Cloth
Chronologically, Kumasi is the Capital of the Ashanti Kingdom and as such all that pertains to the Kente Cloth was instituted to have been conceited and pioneered in Kumasi. Furthermore, the Ashanti King Obwasi tutu cloaked himself in the Kente Cloth and hence was seen to have endorsed the cloth line thereby chiefly claiming domain of it. Relevantly, Kumasi became to be known and revered to as the capital of both Ashanti as well as Kente Cloth.
4. Exclusivity of the Kente Cloth
There is no doubt that anyone can attire and down himself or herself in the Kente Cloth. However, it is potently resonated that clanship of the society in terms of Hierarchy and supremacy provided for an exclusive nature of the Kente Cloth. Only Kings and dignitaries had the privilege of downing the best of Kente Cloth and thereby became exclusively a rich-man’s attire.
5. Women Could not Weave the Kente Cloth
Interestingly, women in the African context of life were not allowed to weave or knit any Kente Cloth. Fundamentally, this was due to the fact that the Kente Cloth was a symbol of power and supremacy therefore, for a woman to handle it, it would have been breach of certain social and cultural norms. These Norms primarily stated the position and placement of the line between male and female. Women had all the privileges of seeing their men fully cloaked in the glamor of the Kente Cloth but never were they to alter or attempt to customize it.
6. The Diversity and composition of Kente Cloth
If you thought that the Kente Cloth is a single custom line, then think again. The Kente Cloth is by all means a very diverse attire element. It comes in over 12 different varieties and forms that one can amicably pick from. Furthermore, there are different colors to also ideally choose from ranging from black, white, green, blue, gold and yellow. Significantly, the colors are symbolic and bear connotative relations to certain aspects of the society. These aspects involve matters such as maturation, love, harmony, peace and many more.
7. Assimilation of Kente Cloth into Mainstream Fashion
Kente Cloth has found its way into the mainstream fashion industry in the 80s and 90s, largely due to the Pan-American era and Black Power movements. High-profile rappers endorsed the Kente Cloth, such as Salt-N-Pepa.
Top designers have not been left out on this revolution. As an example, even Lola Maleombho modeled garments made of out Kente Cloth on high-profile fashion runways.
8. The Pride Factor
There is a pride factor that is contained and encompassed in the Kente Cloth. Historically, it was a module of supremacy and richness and the same notion has been paced into the Diaspora to this effect.
More people opt to accessories the Kente Cloth for major and significant functions such as events, parties and others.