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Beverlyheels StyleClothing: Kikoys

Clothing: Kikoys

Posted on Wed, Jun 20th, 2018

A meter of colorful elegance!

The kikoy (also spelled kikoi), is a garment that is traditionally used by men as a wraparound in countries where the weather is hot. The Kikoy cloth dates back to first century AD and was worn by Arab traders. Over the years, Kenyan fishermen and East Africans integrated the Kikoy fabric as a part of their traditional dress because of their beautiful, vibrant colors and designs. The traditional handwoven cloth from Kenya is rectangular in shape with a length of 160 cm and width of 100 cm.

In recent years, Kikoys are worn by men, women and children alike, and it has adapted to the modern style and fashion. Traditionally, this cotton fabric is made on a simple loom; the weaving is even in the middle and striped along the edges. These days, kikoys are also woven with stripes across the entire width of the fabric. Wrapped around the hips and tucked in at the waist without the help of hooks or pins, few require anything but confidence to hold them in place, and some of them need to be tied with great skill and complexity. Although it needs to be a little tight with certain amount of tension, it should not be too tight. The mistake is to try and wrap it really tightly as this results in an embarrassing show of leg!

The kikoy is also known for its versatility. You can use it as beach towels, towels for the sauna, beach wraps, picnic blankets, scarves, shawls, table cloths, wall hangings, baby wraps, skirts, shorts, bags, dog collar tags and curtains. In Europe, Kikoys are used as a dressing gown as well.

So, what’s the difference between a kikoy and a sarong? The difference is that both are “wraps” used differently in different countries. The name kikoy is generally used in South and East Africa where it is usually 1.5 meters long and has tassels on the short ends. Sarong is the name given to a similar fabric, that is generally worn in South East Asia, especially Malaysia, Indonesia, and Pacific islands.

Worn as, both, formally and informally in their native places, and as casual wear in western countries, the kikoy is one popular item of clothing no matter where you belong. Choose your favorite kikoy from!

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