What Do People Wear in Ghana?

In Ghana, many people put on Western attire, including shirts and pants, or dresses, while others wear clothing made of the traditional kente cloth. In both cases, the ability to purchase expensive items, whether Western or of kente, is an important status symbol within Ghana.

Throughout the history of the region, kings and other officials have shown their status by carrying or wearing such items as staves and umbrellas, as well as by having the exclusive right to wear finery. In modern Ghana, this has changed slightly to include other signs of prosperity, such as expensive cars and other material possessions.

Clothing made of kente remains a popular item, especially among the wealthier members of Ghana's society. The cloth is made of woven strips and started out as a part of traditional festive wear for both men and women. Men would wear it as a toga, while women would use it as a lower and upper wrapper. The fabric appears not only in clothing, but also it is used to make fans, shields, umbrellas and drums among the Ewe and Asante people.

The use of kente has spread even further into bags, ties, hats and other accessories, and in the United States, it often appears in academic and liturgical robes as well.