Waist beads, sometimes known as belly beads,
are strings of beads worn around a woman’s waist; an accessory that
women in Africa have been wearing for thousands of years. Waist beads are infinitely variable, and as complex and unique as the women who wear them.
The embarrassment of showing up to a party in the same dress as someone else is an old cliché. But lately for some fashionistas it may feel like this isn’t just happening at parties, but also at the office, out with friends, and pretty much everywhere else. And they’re not just wearing the same things as one other person, it feels like they’re wearing the same thing as everyone!
Fashion companies have been publicly called out for cultural appropriation when they’ve used the types of colourful printed fabrics that are popular in West Africa. They are often known as"Ankara", or Dutch wax prints or just vaguely referred to as “African prints”.