Fashion: when the “Faso Dan Fani” seduces Burkinabè …

Achille Sawadogo
3 min readMay 31, 2019

“Faso dan fani” is the traditional Burkinabe loincloth with multiple colors and patterns, woven with cotton. Today, this artistic work, fruit of the weavers expertise has really conquered the heart of the Burkinabè. Yet, not so long ago, we would not have predicted such a radiation. This means that Faso Dan Fani has managed his masterstroke, in a fashion market characterized by multiple international influences.

Faso Dan fani in different patterns and colors
Other patterns and colors of Faso Dan fani

“Wearing Faso dan fani is an economic, cultural and political act of defiance of imperialism,” said Thomas Sankara the President of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), who was at the height of his cultural revolution. The regime will go so far as to impose by decree, the wearing of dan fani by officials. At the same time, other actions to promote the traditional woven loincloth will be carried out. Under his leadership, for example, women organized themselves into cooperatives and associations with a focus on the manufacture and marketing of Burkinabè textiles. The objective is to satisfy, as a priority, local consumption. It was the golden age of dan fani in Burkina Faso.

This fervor around dan fani will gradually fade with the death of Thomas Sankara’s regime. Never again, the promotion of dan fani has been so much at the heart of a government’s priorities.

However, today, the flame is reviving bit by bit. As a reminder, in 2015, the Transition government instituted Faso Dan Fani as the official outfit for the celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8). The next government (that of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré) also instituted it as official dress of 8-March. Other forms of expression (Dan’fani fashion week, for example) also promote this art. For instance Tomorrow, June 1st 2019, will take place the 5th edition of the Faso Danfani night in Paris.

Dressmakers, stylists, creators are also more interested in this traditional loincloth they put in the heart of their productions. But for them, there is no question of remaining in the traditional fashion. In order to follow the global trend, they remain in the modern fashion or at the limit what they called the “tradi-modern” fashion. The whole thing is to satisfy the customers; a demanding clientele, looking for something new and more sensual.

Jackets, pants, dresses, skirts, shirts, vests … From the most sober cuts to the furious, designers propose diverse creations for the enjoyment of customers. Especially since they also became “creators”. Faso Dan Fani has become a staple in clothing design in Burkina Faso. For Aminata a seamstress, “people have become aware of Dan fani’s beauty and know that they can make the craziest styles with it”.



Achille Sawadogo

Mandela Washington Fellow, for Young African Leaders — Civic engagement — Development Cooperation, Economist, Project Management skills, Free learner