I have found myself recently indulged in the Fulani tribe. As I got bored of the constant saving and uploading of mainstream fashion images from “African facebook magazines”. To my enlightenment, I noticed a set stream of images from the Facebook page Fulanitube being shared by a friend that I enjoyed for quite a while. It didn’t take long after that before I realized it wasn’t actually a fashion Facebook page but a cultural site that is 100% dedicated to promoting the cultural values and lifestyle of the Fulani tribe via images, articles and videos.
Now don’t get me wrong, when it comes to tribes I feel have inspired many designers the most, admittedly or in denial, the Ndebele Tribe of South Africa, the original colour blockers, and the Masai tribe of Kenya, should never be left out, as to where style and creativity is concerned for me. The Fulanis are a widely dispersed tribe across most countries in West Africa, it would be naive to assume that all fashion in Fulani images is mainly that of their cultural attributes. Possibly, most of what I am discovering could simply be the native fashion of the particular country where that particular set of Fulanis may reside. However, you can be sure when you see the Wodaabe set of the Funlani tribe.
The traditional dress of the Fula consists of long colourful flowing robes, modestly embroidered or otherwise decorated. Also, the characteristic Fula tradition is that of women using henna and indigo around the mouth, resulting in a blackening around the lips. Fula ethics are strictly governed by the notion of pulaaku. Men wear long robes to the lower calves with trousers of cotton. Herdsmen wear the distinctive conical straw hat and a turban. Women wear long robes and turbans. They decorate themselves with necklaces, earrings, nose rings and anklets (1)
It’s very refreshing to get to the core of fashion. Not designs by designers influenced b commercial designs trying to please a market, but designs by human beings with no mass media influence, who have taken time out of their hands not just to make outfits for the human necessities, but going the extra mile to design and be more creative. In this case, the questions come in, What inspires them to create that headpiece in that manner. What message lies behind it, and where doesn’t the inspiration for the colour combinations come from.
Thanks to Fulanitube and their active page @ http://www.facebook.com/fulanitube anyone can find a great set of Fulani images streaming regularly. Whether they are aware it is fashionably inspiring or not, is another question. Who knows, I might take this opportunity to look further into the cultural fashion of the African tribe, I’ve seen a few lovable cultural images of fashion in Burkina Faso. Anyways, enjoy some images of the Fulanis below, and drop a comment, let us know what you think.