Ever notice the interaction between African flavors and Spanish tastes in the Columbian dress? This should not be a surprise as Colombian current day fashion is mostly a result of the Afro-Colombian Culture. The influx of African slaves in Columbia started in the early 1500s when the English and the Spaniards imported slaves from Western African countries such as Mali, Congo, and the Ivory Coast. Upon relocating to Colombia, Africans became the first in Colombia to extract gold deposits and to grow sugarcane.
Afro-Colombian Culture and Dance
In 1851, a few years before the American Proclamation of Emancipation, Africans gained their freedom in Colombia. But even before this, the small town of Palenque de San Basilio found a way to free and harbor slaves entering nearby Cartanegra. With their amount of success, a Royal Decree was issued in 1691, guaranteeing freedom to the Africans in Palenque de San Basilio. The residents of that town are considered to be the first free Africans in America.
Colombian Fashion Highly Influenced By Afro-Colombian Population
Despite making up only 5 million of Colombia’s population of 47 million, Afro-Colombian’s heavily influence Colombian’s fashion and culture. In the video below designer, Lia Samantha Lozano Rendón” showcases her designs. Lozano’s goal was to portray the essence of Afro-Colombia culture through fashion:
“The vivid, contrasting colors of Lozano’s clothing and designs, which boast the magenta, turquoise, and emerald greens of traditional African prints, reflect her exuberant and upbeat demeanor. However, Lozano’s choice of colors and fabrics are more a statement about society and culture than a reflection of her personality.” ACDI/VOCA
Given the discrimination that Afro-Colombians face, Lozano sought to unite White, mixed, and dark Colombians. Three months after her fashion showcase, she received numerous requests from famous Colombian singers for her clothing. Success? Many would say so based on the demand for her clothing from popular Colombian figures. Lozano’s successful fashion line is a sign that the country is moving towards a more inclusive society.