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How is authentic Kente Cloth made?

Authentic Kente Cloth is a handwoven work of art made in Ghana, West Africa. Kente Cloth was traditionally only worn by Kings and Queens in Ghana and is created by master craftsmen. Kente Cloth provides income to generations of master craftsmen and supports black businesses. There are a lot of graduation stole options to choose from so rather than writing a thousand words explaining why Sankofa Edition's authentic Kente Cloth is so special, we decided to create a video instead. This video will show you the skill and craftsmanship that goes into each Kente Cloth graduation stole we make and why each piece is a work of art. We hope you enjoy it!

 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of imitation graduation stoles on the market that are not authentic Kente Cloth, which impacts local economies. 

So, how can you tell if your Kente Cloth graduation stole is authentic?

Authentic Kente Cloth

Authentic Kente Cloth is handwoven and will contain slight variations that reveal a human touch. An easy way to tell if your Kente Cloth stole is authentic is to look at the back of the embroidery. The threads should look raised and have texture. This is a result of the hand embroidery process seen in the video above, which requires the embroidery to be incorporated into the cloth as it is being handwoven. See the picture below for an example:

 real kente cloth
Photo showing the back of an authentic Kente Cloth stole with hand embroidered lettering

 

Fake Kente Cloth

Fake Kente Cloth stoles are usually machine-made in China. These knock-offs undercut the economies of the traditional master craftsmen in Africa who have been hand-weaving Kente Cloth for generations. When looked at closely, you will notice these knock-offs are very flat with machined elements sometimes mixed in, such as a polyester backing. The back of the stole provides a good indicator of its authenticity. If the back of the embroidery looks like the example picture below, it is fake:

 fake kente stole
Photo showing the back of a fake Kente Cloth stole with machine-woven fabric and lettering

 

Below are additional photos of some obvious Kente Cloth fakes on the market:

 fake kente stole
This made-in-China imitation almost looks authentic, but the back of the embroidery is a dead giveaway that it is a machine-made knock-off
These knockoffs are commonly found in school book stores and are also machine made in China

 

 

Be Authentic.

We recommend purchasing your Kente Cloth stoles from Sankofa Edition to guarantee you are wearing authentic Kente Cloth. If you are not able to buy directly from us we hope this article helps you in identifying real Kente Cloth. Your graduation day is special and it took a lot of work to make it happen - your Kente Cloth graduation stole should be real and authentic to honor your achievement and will be a keepsake of that special day for years to come.

Five star review

When I received my kente stole in the mail, I cried. I'm really graduating from college and the stole really made it real. My grandparents would be really proud of me. I am so proud to be walking with my kente stole. Thank you. - Barbette Thames, Class of 2020 

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