Why I’m Sending My Tutu to Ghana

It may hurt local textiles, but being fashion-forward is all about fusing the old and new.

“The young generations wear jeans and T-shirts. You know, wanting to look American. I’m an Ashanti man. I like our symbols and our culture. I couldn’t let that be missing in what I do,” he said.

Aba Kwawu, who teaches fashion design at Howard University, agrees. “Ghana has grown a lot in the last 10 years. It was kind of just accepted that everyone wore these hand-me downs, from these glorified thrift shops and vendors.”

“What has happened now is that the traditional clothing and the traditional cloth are being revamped. I can buy clothing that looks like it was made from a European designer that is made of wax cloth from a Ghanaian shop. It’s about that fusion,” she added.

OK, fusion of the two, I liked that idea.

With the future of the Ghanaian garment industry and cultural traditions weighing heavy on my mind, I took a cold, hard, second look at my beautiful tutu dress.

Con: This tutu dress could brainwash my people into idolizing Western fashion ideals over their own traditional, indigenous culture.

Pros: A.) Someone else looks good. B.) I feel like a good person for donating. C.) I get to shop more, to replace all the clothing I’ve donated. (It’s only fair!)

So I packed Miss Thing up and hoped for the best. You never know what the good you do today can do for others tomorrow. My intentions were genuine, so hopefully, the outcome reflects that.

And honestly, there’s a girl out there who deserves the glamorous experience of wearing a little tutu dress.