African Fashion Culture

Top 5 African Dresses With Modern Influence

African dresses
Written by Jesca

In the last few years, African dresses with modern influence have become increasingly popular. African fashion has made an impact on the world’s fashion scene, bringing African flair and modernity to African dresses.

Fashionistas have adopted African-inspired prints, silhouettes, and colours worldwide, creating a vibrant fashion that celebrates African culture. The Western world is beginning to embrace African cultural art in their fashion; their bold, eye-catching designs are making waves on the runway and at popular fashion shows around the globe. From African wedding dresses, shorts, Aso Ebi styles, and Ankara styles to Kitenge dresses and Dashiki tops and jackets, African outfits are now embraced worldwide for their bright colors, intricate patterns, and fashionable styles.

These dresses are perfect for every occasion and make a statement wherever you go. They can be dressed up with heels and dramatic jewellery or a pair of sneakers and a casual jacket.

What Do Africans Wear Today?

In Southern Africa, people are known for their unique dress style, often characterized by eye-catching colours, fancy accessories, and bold prints. The famous Madiba shirt is widely worn, while Zimbabweans have embraced the Chitenge, a wrap-around skirt usually made from African print fabric.

Traditional dresses such as the Kaftan and the Djellaba are commonly worn in Northern Africa. In East Africa, the Kitenge is popularly used by women to make dresses and skirts, while men often wear a traditional shirt paired with a Kikoi wrap. West African countries are known for Dashiki, the colourful and patterned shirts often paired with Sokoto trousers. Ethiopia on the other hand has its own version of a traditional garment called Habesha kemis. Women wear habesha kemis accompanied by a shawl called netela. This garment is used as formal wear for important occasions and events.

What are Long African Dresses Called?

The long African dresses, (robes) are known by many names, depending on the region it comes from. In southern African countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe, traditional African robes are called “dashikis”. In contrast, in East African countries like Kenya and Tanzania, African robes are commonly called “kandoras”. African men traditionally wear African robes, but African women also adopt them.

The dashiki is vibrant and stylish clothing covering the upper half of the body, traditionally worn by people in West Africa. It goes by many names throughout different African countries – such as Kitenge used in East Africa – and can range from simple draping to fully tailored suits. This traditional attire is also trendy among Tanzanians and Kenyans, with formal and casual variations available for anyone looking to add spice to their wardrobe.

What is the Traditional Dress of West Africa?

The traditional dress of West Africa is the Dashiki, a loose-fitting shirt, and trousers, often brightly coloured in striking patterns. The Dashiki has been embraced recently as a fashionable garment, especially for men, with many variations on the traditional style. Women typically wear either a shorter version of the Dashiki, or a wrap-around skirt called a Skirtini.

Which Country is the Fashion Capital of Africa?

Lagos, Nigeria, has rapidly emerged as the African epicentre of fashion within just a few years. With its influential Fashion Week recognized by some of the most respected names in the industry, like supermodel Naomi Campbell and acclaimed fashion editors, no one can deny Lagos’ power to shape Africa’s sartorial scene. African fashion designers like Mai Atafo, Orange Culture and Gozel Green are producing high-quality African designs with exquisite craftsmanship that is being showcased around the world. Lagos has become a truly African fashion capital.

What Outfits are Trending?

African fashion trends are constantly evolving, with new styles emerging each season. Popular looks include yellow and orange and statement patterns like geometric designs, animal prints, and traditional African designs. Stripes, checks, and plaids are also popular choices for casual wear. Accessories such as jewellery, bags, and hats can also complete your African look in style.

We have compiled 5 African dresses with modern influence for ladies in 2023. They are the perfect African wear styles for all women who want to look stylish. You will find something to suit your needs from day-to-night event styles to office wear to wedding styles. The African fashion dresses listed here are on-trend, so your style is always up to date.

1. Modern Aso Ebi Style

African dresses with modern influence

Modern Aso Ebi Style for a party wear. Photo/

If you’re searching for contemporary African bridesmaid dresses, Aso Ebi Style is a perfect option. This traditional style originates from the Nigerian Yoruba culture, with long maxis and gowns to flatter African ladies. These are some of the most fashionable modern African print wedding dresses available today. Aso Ebi dresses, renowned for their classic style, can be worn to various events, such as weddings. Pair this beautiful garment with an elegant modern gele head wrap and exquisite jewellery for your best look.

2. Ankara Style

African dresses with modern influence

Modern Ankara Style. Photo/
Nairaland Forum.

African shorts are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s no wonder why. They feature a stunning, chic style that celebrities and models adore for various occasions – from casual brunches to glamorous dinners with the right accessories. These are African dresses with modern influence embraced in Africa and among women across western countries. Ankara shorts are very adaptable and can be worn to fit any event.

Their unique African print and colors make Ankara an eye-catching statement piece, no matter what you pair them with. For a simple and elegant look, combine shorts with brown leather sandals and a plain white tee for the ultimate African-inspired look.

3. Dashiki tops and jackets

Dashiki tops and jackets

Dashiki tops and jackets. Photo/africatourismconsultants.

Dashiki prints are some of the most fashionable African dresses with modern influence. From African-inspired jackets to print blouses, Dashiki tops are perfect for adding a touch of African flair to your wardrobe. The tops come in various styles and colors, from traditional prints to the newer African-inspired fashion trends. Both men and women can flaunt these designs in stylish tops or jackets when paired with flattering clothing.

For instance, a woman may pair her dashiki top with leggings and boots, whereas a man could put on his outfit alongside denim jeans and sandals for an effortlessly cool look. And beyond their sleek appearance, dashikis offer the utmost comfort, making them the ideal African-inspired garment for any outing.

4. Kitenge

African dresses with modern influence

The modern Kitenge styles. Photo/
The Pearl.

Kitenge dresses are the standard of African fashion – an explosion of dynamic designs, dyes, and detailed patterns. The designers have created some incredible looks that bring Kitenges to a whole new level as one of the African dresses with modern influence. When it comes to African attire, nothing compares with Kitenge for skirts and dresses; its boldness is phenomenal.

African ladies rock this print with various necklines – from square necks to off-shoulder silhouettes. Kitenge tops, shirts and blouses, African pants, and jumpsuits are trendy. Match your Kitenge outfit with colourful African jewellery and other print accessories to complete the modern look.

5. Jellabiya

A modern Jalabiya

A modern Jalabiya. Photo/Mirraw.

Jellabiya, a full-length traditional African wear favoured by women in the Nile region of Egypt and Sudan, is another African dress with modern influence. Similar to an Arabian thawb, this African dress is known for its loose fit and bright colours, making it a fitting choice for African events and festivities.

For a modern look, you can layer your jellabiya with a long African print kimono and traditional jewellery. If you want to take it up a notch, pair your jellabiya with African sandals or statement shoes and a beautiful African head wrap. Kitengi can instantly transform any woman into an African queen with its airy and luxurious fabric.


African fashion has come a long way from its humble beginnings, and the incredible range of African-inspired clothing today truly represents the culture in all its grandeur. From djellabas to kaftans, and from dashikis to kitenge, each garment carries its own unique meaning and style. African dresses with modern influence bring African culture to life and provide stylish options for any occasion. So, the next time you need to dress to impress, don’t forget to consider these African closet staples.

About the author


Besigye is a Ugandan writer and a teacher by profession. She loves adventure and travelling that's why she loves writing travel blogs.

Leave a Comment