From December 26th – January 1st, Baltimore businesses, people, and non-profit organizations often organize events to commemorate African history, legends, and principles. This celebration is called Kwanzaa and its seven principles are: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). "The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red, and green, commonly utilized in decorations for Kwanzaa. Also decorations should include traditional African items, i.e., African baskets, cloth patterns, art objects, harvest symbols, etc". (Official Kwanzaa Website). One of the most noted Kwanzaa events are held at the Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American Art. Attendees and participants confidently showcase their native African attire, purchased from local vendors, boutiques, or handmade in the comfort of his/her own home. Kwanzaa is truly a festive occasion for all to enjoy.
According to global style magazines and 2013-2014 runway shows, the following established designers have gained inspiration from African textures and patterns: Michael Kors, Giorgio Armani, and even Oscar de la Renta (to name a few). In addition, new African-based designers are shining with impeccable, artistic flavors and modern styles. Delicate, flowing dresses and tops will likely embark future Kwanzaa concerts and affairs but there is no reason to delay a fashion forward purchase until next year. It is quite acceptable to reveal such attire regularly. The wonderful aspect of African apparel is its versatility and eye-catching appeal.
The majority of African boutiques in Baltimore are owned and operated by those who are familiar with the African fashion, culture, and style. They can transform and personalize basic fabrics and accessories in a single visit. The following are a list of recommended shops:
Sankofa African Bazaar: http://www.sankofaafricanbazaar.com/
2442 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21218-5758
Mahogany Exchange/Out of Africa Boutique & Gallery 111: www.mahoganyexchangegallery111.com/
111 West Saratoga Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Maja Boutique: http://www.majacollections.com/
1744 Aliceanna St
YBI African Apparel & Fashions: http://www.sisteryesybi.com
Located inside of Scott's & Sons Furniture Store.
5115 Park Heights Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215
For a complimentary consultation, questions, or assistance regarding the provided information, feel free to contact Ms. Julie Dickerson, Baltimore Fashion & Style Examiner.