From Tate's Walls to Your Wardrobe: 5 Tips For African Textiles as Wearable Art

From Tate's Walls to Your Wardrobe: 5 Tips For African Textiles as Wearable Art

Discover the magic of African Fashion at Tate Modern's Portraits of a Community exhibition, celebrating London's African diaspora's diversity and heritage. Tate's halls unveil a tapestry of African dress styles, weaving tales of family, homeland, and tradition through captivating portraits. But, what if you could wear a piece of this heritage? Here at Dovetailed, we believe in the power of African textiles as wearable art. We see these fabrics as more than just materials; they are vibrant expressions of culture and identity. And just like the portraits at Tate, they have stories to tell.

Artistry on Fabric

Every piece in Tate's exhibition is a masterpiece in its own right, and the same can be said for African textiles. The process of creating these fabrics is a labour of love that often involves intricate designs, bold colours, and a deep connection to tradition. Just as the artists at Tate collaborated with their subjects to create meaningful portraits, African textiles are often a result of collaboration between artisans and communities.

At Dovetailed, we pay homage to this artistry by sourcing textiles from talented artisans who pour their creativity and heritage into every piece. Our collection isn't just clothing; it's a canvas that showcases the artistic brilliance of African culture.

a stack of colourful fabric at Dovetailed

Stories in Every Thread

Each portrait at Tate Modern tells a story—a narrative of family ties, royal lineages, and connections to a homeland. Similarly, African textiles are imbued with stories that have been passed down through generations. These stories are woven into the very fabric, making every piece unique and meaningful.

When you wear a garment crafted from African textiles, you're not just wearing clothing; you're wearing history. You're carrying the narratives of generations before you, celebrating their triumphs, and honouring their traditions.

Fashion as a Form of Expression

Fashion is more than just what you put on in the morning; it's a form of self-expression. Just as the subjects at Tate chose how they wanted to be portrayed, you have the power to curate your style with Dovetailed's African print clothing.

Our collection includes a diverse range of pieces, from dresses to accessories, each offering a different way to express your individuality while celebrating African culture. Whether you choose a vibrant Ankara dress or a bold headwrap, you're making a statement about who you are and what you value.

A person wearing a colourful necklace and a blue purple african print dress.

A Fusion of Art and Fashion

What makes the connection between Tate's exhibition and Dovetailed so special is the fusion of art and fashion. Just as African self-representation is a theme that runs through Tate's displays, Dovetailed enables you to represent yourself through the artistry of clothing.


a woman with a red african print headband and earrings

5 Styling Tips

If you're wondering how to incorporate African print clothing into your wardrobe, here are a few styling tips:

  1. Mix and Match: Don't be afraid to experiment with different patterns and colours. African textiles are known for their vibrant designs, so embrace the boldness.
  1. Accessorise: If you want to start small, consider adding African print accessories like scarves, headwraps, or bags to your outfit. 
  1. Statement Pieces: Let one item be the focal point of your outfit. Whether it's a dress, a shirt, or a skirt, make it the star.
  1. Casual and Formal: African print clothing can be dressed up or down, making it suitable for both casual outings and special occasions.
  1. Be Confident: The most important styling tip is to wear your African print clothing with confidence. After all, fashion is about expressing yourself authentically.

The intersection of art and fashion is a place where culture thrives, and Dovetailed is proud to be a part of that journey. As you explore Tate Modern's Portraits of a Community exhibition, remember that you can carry a piece of this cultural celebration with you every day. Our African print clothing is more than just fashion; it's a way to wear your heritage, celebrate your identity, and make a statement about the rich tapestry of African culture.

The Gala Night: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion

As we celebrate the intersection of art and fashion, we are excited to share the news that Adaku Parker, one of the exceptional individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to fostering diversity and inclusion within her community, has been nominated as a finalist for the prestigious Minorities Recognition Awards in Northern Ireland (MRANI). The ground-breaking awards event, founded by Diane Davis, aims to recognise, reward, and celebrate the outstanding achievements of ethnic minority businesses and leaders from all sectors and industries across Northern Ireland. Adaku's nomination is a testament to her commitment to advancing equality and promoting innovation through diversity.

Join us in celebrating Adaku Parker and other remarkable individuals at the gala MRANI evening on Saturday, October 7th, at Belfast's Stormont Hotel. Find more information here. 

Want to buy our ready-made Dovetailed garments? Shop here for clothing and here for accessories.

Or why don't you create your own unique pieces? Join our workshops and become part of the many who created their dream African print dresses with the little help. Shop workshops here.

Prefer DIY? Find the perfect fabrics for your projects. Browse our fabric selection here.

Secure your spot at the Tate Modern's exhibition. Get your tickets here. 

Are you planning to visit Tate Modern's Portraits of a Community exhibition in your favourite Dovetailed outfit? We'd love to see your style and share it with our community! Snap a photo at the exhibition, tag us in your Instagram story, and let your fashion be part of our African art and culture celebration. Don't forget to use our hashtag #DovetailedStyle for a chance to be featured on our page.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that moving forward, you can find our complete range of fabrics and pattern books exclusively on our Etsy store. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this transition period. Should you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to our dedicated customer support team. 

Shop our fabrics on Etsy here.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.