Elle Canada is facing major backlash from Black Twitter after declaring the dashiki the “new it item”. The dashiki is a colorful garment that originated in Africa and has been popular among blacks in North and South America and the Caribbean for decades.
Black Twitter wasn’t a fan of Elle’s latest discovery and I can’t say that I blame them. This is the latest in a series of ‘heavy borrowing’ the fashion world has done from black culture, without acknowledging the history or source.
Dashikis have become quite popular since catching the attention of the fashion industry. They were ubiquitous at Coachella, Beyonce, Chris Brown and Rihanna have rocked them, and there’s a company churning out dashiki jerseys.
The dashiki that singer Jhene Aiko is wearing in Elle Canada’s twitpic is from Forever 21, and the well‐known retailer doesn’t describe the item as a dashiki on their website, which opens up a whole other can of worms. Elle Canada has since removed the tweet.
There’s no doubt that the dashiki’s modern twist has given it a higher style profile. But the fact that it didn’t become an ‘it item’ until white people noticed it doesn’t sit well with many. Additionally, many feel uncomfortable that traditional African wear is being scrubbed of its context and reduced to good festival wear.
Ladies, what are your thoughts?