Tribal, Ethnic, Safari, or African-inspired prints hit the runway this past spring and can be seen in budget-conscious retail stores as well as high-end department stores. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this exotic trend hit the runway. Tribal prints seem to come around every few years during the warmer summer months. Back in 2009, Louis Vuitton created African-inspired wood bangles. Banana Republic has been creating the Safari look ever since they started selling clothing in the mid-80s.
The 2012 Tribal trend seems to be more focused on geometric shapes and bright colours, rather than animal prints or earthy influences. Given the continuing trend of bold colours, it doesn’t surprise me that African-inspired clothing is full of bold colours this year. Although colour trends are cyclical and neutrals seem to rear their heads once everyone needs a palate cleanser. But seeing pictures from New York Fashion week and getting a glimpse at fall clothing, the colour trend looks likely to play out for the remainder of the year and possibly continue into 2013.
So let’s dive into some of this season’s wearable African-inspired clothing. First up, this wonderful and fun African Print Shirt by Zara. It incorporates the colour purple, which is a “healing” colour in Africa. The geometric and bold shapes further pay homage to Africa’s patterns and motifs that communicate messages or different village philosophies. This shirt looks lovely with the white jeans for summer, but can also be carried into early autumn with a pair of cream, Dixie Blaze Wide Leg Trousers from French Connection.
Next up, statement necklaces. Statement necklaces have been a huge hit in the blogger community. With the bold colour-blocking craze that seems to keep going strong throughout several seasons, a statement necklace can tie together two or more colours in an outfit and complete a look.
From left to right:
These double-tiered statement necklaces by Hoist + Lee have bold, bright, wonderful colours, while the design is a scaled down version of the elaborate beaded wedding necklaces Samburu women wear. You could pair these necklaces with an all white shift dress for a touch of Kenyan-inspired influence.
How about a little tribal art on your nails? Gone are the days of plain nail polish. That’s so 2011! Nowadays, your nails need to make a statement. And what better way than with nail wraps. They are quick and easy to apply and remove and there’s an exorbitant amount of possibilities. If you’re not ready to commit to African-inspired clothing, put it on your nails instead!
Finally, it seems like there are a lot of interpretations of the “tribal” or “urban jungle” trend. Some geometric designs fall into a more Aztec-type pattern and are being referred to as “Tribal.” But Aztec and Tribal are not the same. That’s why I make a conscious effort in this blog post to include the word “inspired” when referring to tribal prints.