The Kanga

For women in the humid port city of Dar es Salaam, the kanga is a must-have accessory, functioning as an everyday wraparound dress, bath towel, shawl and baby tote. But for Mustafa Hassanali, a popular local designer who organized the second annual Swahili Fashion Week, the traditional rectangular cloth from east Africa’s Indian Ocean coast means much more.

Kangas, more often seen for sale on the dusty streets of hectic and disheveled Kariakoo market, take on a bright, sensual, and fashionable essence.  In a show covered by People’s Daily, Hassanali sees the beginning of an emerging, modern, east-African fashion trend.


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