African nationals wore their heritage and culture at the Opening Ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics. Here’s an overview of the top 10 best dressed delegations.

Bénin. Dressed in traditional custom matching outfits, the Benin delegation is wearing a fabric called “lessi” , or lace. Shades of royal blue remind us of the nation once called Abomey were the kingdom once ruled the region, supported by an army of women warriors called “Amazones”. The traditional head gear matches perfectly to complete the look. Bravo Bénin!

The Cameroon delegation is wearing toghu Bamenda embroidered on black velvet. Traditional patterns of gold, orange and red adorn the dress. The contrasting colours pop, to reflect a nation that is vibrant and lively. The matching hats remind us that fashion doesn’t need a designer label. What an entrance! Congrats, Cameroon!

Up next: Uganda. The floor-length gowns mirror the Ugandan flag. The long belt flows along side the skirt. The hand-braided scarves are draped on the melanated male athletes who walk with their head held high. Go Uganda!

Saint-Vincent & Grenadines are a small island nation in the Caribbean. Their delegation shows a mix of Western influence with African roots. The uniforms included royal blue pants, regardless of gender. The colourful tops are reminiscent of African Ankara patterns. Saint-Vincent looks sensational!

There are dozens of ethnic groups in Kenya. The Masaï people have captured the imagination since colonization, when they refused to submit. The Masaï traditional clothing are on display. Bright red, knit skits (for both genders), and black sandals. The distinctive look brims with heritage pride.  Congrats, Kenya!

Mauritania’s athletes are wearing traditional, multi-layered clothing. The natural fabrics with natural coloring gives an earthly feel to the look. Notice the beaded earrings with the flag colours. A stunning look for all seasons, this will never got out of style. Marvelous model for Mauritania!

The Ivorian delegation appears to be wearing custom african prints inspired by their flag colours. The intricate patterns reflect a rich culture of sewing kente cloths (Yes! Kente is not exclusive to Ghana!) The flag colours also appear in their covid masks, a practical solution to the pandemic. Inspiring Ivory Coast!

Nigeria, Ghana and Mali all opted for basic white, with little accents. Although not as intricate as other Black nations, the simple elegance of the neutral colour makes their ebony skin pop.

 No matter the country, African designs are on par with any other western designers. If you are looking to incorporate your heritage in your swim wear or sleep wear, consider Africa-inspired apparel for the whole family. Enjoy the Olympics! We’re rooting for everybody Black!

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