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The Versatility of a Kikoi

A Kikoi is no ordinary rectangle of cloth. It’s an attractive piece of fabric made in mostly bright colours with contrasting boarders or stripes with hand knotted tassels at each end. It’s frankly a necessary addition to both wardrobes and households alike.

kikoi as worn by a bunch of kids

You can use a kikoi on you or around your house all year round. You can use a Kikoi as a table cloth, scarf, baby sling, towel or dress. Or you just wrap one around your waist as it was first intended all those years ago. Kikois have been in use on the Swahili coast like this for hundreds of years. Traditionally by men, but has since evolved into a garment for all ages and sexes.

How to wear a Kikoi in the traditional way

  • You need to stand holding it at waist height behind you.
  • Holding it close to the corners (depending on how long your arms are!) and wrap it around your body and hold it on your hip and repeat with the other side pulling it around firmly.
  • Then roll both ends a couple of times until it is secure.
  • You don’t need it to be too tight but you need a certain amount of tension to keep it up.

A Kikoi as a dress!

Making a halter neck dress is easy too! Hold the Kikoi behind your back the same as before but just under your arm height. Bring both corners round your front and cross them over and tie behind your neck and there you have a dress!