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Rasta Style Guide: Tips and Inspiration for Embracing Rastafarian Dress

Rastafarianism, a vibrant and influential cultural and spiritual movement, emerged in Jamaica during the early 20th century. Rooted in the teachings of Marcus Garvey and inspired by the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, Rastafarianism holds deep cultural significance for its followers. It embodies a rich tapestry of beliefs, values, and practices that celebrate African heritage, spirituality, and social justice.

At the core of Rastafarianism is the idea of embracing one’s African roots and rejecting the oppressive systems of Babylon, which refers to the oppressive colonial forces and institutions. Rastafarians view themselves as the true descendants of the African diaspora, seeking to restore dignity, pride, and liberation to black people worldwide. Rastafarianism promotes a deep reverence for nature, love, peace, and unity among all people.

Rastafarian dress plays a crucial role in expressing these beliefs and values. It serves as a powerful tool for self-expression, cultural identity, and a visual manifestation of one’s connection to Rastafarianism. The way Rastafarians choose to dress is a reflection of their inner spiritual journey, their dedication to their African roots, and their commitment to living a conscious and authentic lifestyle.

Rastafarian dress is characterized by its unique style, colors, and symbolism. It often features vibrant hues such as red, gold, and green, which hold specific meanings within the movement. These colors represent the blood of martyrs, the wealth of the land, and the vegetation of Ethiopia, respectively. Additionally, clothing choices include loose-fitting garments, natural fabrics like cotton and linen, and traditional African patterns or prints.

By adorning themselves in Rastafarian attire, followers express their allegiance to Rastafari principles, cultural heritage, and spiritual beliefs. Rastafarian dress becomes a visual proclamation of their identity, allowing them to stand proudly in their African roots while challenging societal norms and embracing a unique form of self-expression.

In this blog post, we will explore the significance of Rastafarian dress, delve into its elements and symbols, and provide tips and inspiration for those interested in embracing this distinctive style. By understanding and appreciating Rastafarian fashion, we can honor the cultural heritage and spirit of Rastafarianism while celebrating the diversity and richness it brings to the world of fashion and self-expression.

Understanding Rastafarian Dress

Historical Roots and African Heritage

Rastafarian fashion finds its roots in the rich cultural heritage of Africa. Rastafarians draw inspiration from the traditions, clothing styles, and symbolism of various African cultures. From the vibrant garments of Ethiopia to the regal attire of ancient Egypt, Rastafarian fashion pays homage to the diverse tapestry of African heritage. By embracing these influences, Rastafarians aim to reclaim their African identity and challenge the Eurocentric standards imposed by colonialism.

Key Elements of Rastafarian Attire

Rastafarian attire encompasses several distinctive elements that contribute to its unique visual identity. These elements include colors, fabrics, and symbols that hold deep significance within the movement.

Colors: The colors red, gold, and green are iconic within Rastafarianism. Red symbolizes the blood of martyrs and the struggles faced by black people throughout history. Gold represents the wealth and natural resources of Africa, while green symbolizes the lush vegetation of Ethiopia. These colors are often incorporated into clothing, accessories, and flags to showcase Rastafarian pride and identity.

Fabrics: Rastafarian dress favors natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, and hemp. These materials are not only comfortable to wear in warm climates but also align with the movement’s emphasis on living in harmony with nature. Additionally, traditional African prints, patterns, and textiles are embraced, celebrating the diversity and cultural richness of the African continent.

Symbols: Rastafarian attire often features symbols that hold spiritual and cultural significance. The lion of Judah, representing Emperor Haile Selassie I and the lineage of King Solomon, is a prominent symbol within Rastafarianism. It symbolizes strength, sovereignty, and the divinity of the movement’s spiritual beliefs. Other symbols, such as the Ethiopian flag, the Rastafari flag, or the Ankh, may also be incorporated into clothing as expressions of identity and solidarity.

Spiritual and Symbolic Meanings

Rastafarian dress is not merely an aesthetic choice but a deeply spiritual and symbolic practice. Certain clothing choices within Rastafarianism carry profound meanings, representing spiritual beliefs, cultural pride, and resistance against oppressive systems.

Dreadlocks: One of the most recognizable aspects of Rastafarianism is the wearing of dreadlocks. For Rastafarians, dreadlocks symbolize a natural and unaltered state of being, aligning with their rejection of societal norms and embracing their African roots. Dreadlocks are seen as a spiritual and physical connection to Jah (God) and are a visual representation of the movement’s values of freedom, liberation, and empowerment.

Head Coverings: Rastafarians often wear head coverings, such as turbans or knitted caps known as tams. These coverings serve multiple purposes. They can be practical, protecting the hair and providing warmth. Additionally, head coverings hold cultural significance and symbolize respect, humility, and spirituality. They serve as a visual reminder of Rastafarian devotion and the acknowledgment of the divine presence within oneself.

Tips for Incorporating Rastafarian Elements

Embrace the colors

Incorporating the iconic colors of Rastafarian culture, namely red, gold, and green, into your wardrobe can be a powerful way to honor and celebrate the movement’s heritage. Consider the following tips:

Clothing: Opt for garments that feature these colors prominently, either individually or in combination. For instance, you can choose a red T-shirt paired with green pants or a gold blouse with red and green accents. Look for clothing items with Rasta-inspired patterns or prints that incorporate these colors creatively.

Accessories: Add pops of red, gold, and green through accessories such as scarves, belts, hats, or shoes. These vibrant accents can instantly infuse your outfit with Rastafarian flair.

Mindful Pairings: Remember that the Rasta colors are bold and eye-catching, so it’s best to balance them with neutral tones like black, white, or earthy hues to create a harmonious look.

Clothing choices

Rastafarian aesthetics often lean towards loose-fitting garments and natural fibers that prioritize comfort, cultural authenticity, and a connection to nature. Consider the following suggestions:

Flowing Silhouettes: Opt for loose-fitting tops, dresses, or pants that allow for freedom of movement and reflect the relaxed vibes of Rastafarian style. Maxi dresses or skirts, wide-leg pants, and oversized shirts are great options.

Natural Fabrics: Choose clothing made from breathable and sustainable materials like cotton, linen, or hemp. These natural fibers not only align with the movement’s values but also provide comfort in warm climates.

Cultural Prints and Patterns: Incorporate traditional African prints or patterns into your outfits. Look for garments featuring dashikis, kente cloth, mud cloth, or other culturally significant designs. These patterns pay homage to African heritage and add an authentic touch to your Rasta-inspired look.

Accessorizing with intention

Accessories play a crucial role in completing a Rastafarian-inspired ensemble and adding personal flair. Consider the following ideas:

Beads and Jewelry: Rastafarian fashion often incorporates colorful beads and natural jewelry materials. Adorn yourself with wooden beads, shells, or stones in Rasta colors to create a distinctive look. Wear necklaces, bracelets, or earrings that showcase African-inspired designs or symbolic motifs like the lion of Judah or the Ankh.

Head Wraps and Hats: Experiment with head wraps or turbans in vibrant colors, or opt for knitted caps known as tams. These accessories not only add a stylish touch but also serve as a nod to the head coverings often worn by Rastafarians.

Bags and Totes: Carry bags made from natural materials like jute or woven fibers, which evoke a connection to nature. Look for bags featuring Rastafarian colors or African-inspired prints to enhance your overall aesthetic.

Rastafarian Fashion Icons and Inspiration

Influential Figures in Rastafarian Culture

Rastafarianism has been shaped by influential figures who have not only made significant contributions to the movement but have also become fashion icons in their own right. These individuals have embraced Rasta style and infused it with their unique expressions. Some notable figures include:

Bob Marley: Perhaps the most iconic Rastafarian figure, Bob Marley, not only made a tremendous impact on reggae music but also left a lasting impression with his distinctive fashion sense. His signature dreadlocks, vibrant stage outfits, and fusion of African prints with Western styles continue to inspire generations.

Peter Tosh: A founding member of The Wailers, Peter Tosh was known for his strong Rasta beliefs and his rebellious fashion choices. He often donned traditional African attire, combined with military-inspired elements, and accessorized with bold jewelry, creating a powerful and unique style.

Contemporary Rastafarian Individuals and Designers

Rastafarian fashion continues to evolve and inspire modern interpretations. Today, there are individuals and designers who infuse Rasta elements into their work, pushing the boundaries of style and creating new avenues for expression. Here are a few examples:

Cedella Marley: The daughter of Bob Marley, Cedella Marley has carried on her father’s legacy and played a significant role in promoting Rastafarian fashion. Through her fashion label, she incorporates Rasta-inspired elements into contemporary designs, blending traditional African prints, vibrant colors, and modern silhouettes.

Ikiré Jones: This fashion brand, led by Nigerian-American designer Walé Oyéjidé, offers a fresh perspective on Rasta style. Ikiré Jones combines African prints, bold patterns, and vibrant colors with tailored suits and sophisticated garments, creating a fusion of Rasta aesthetics with high fashion.

Rastafarian-Inspired Fashion Trends and Collaborations

Rastafarian fashion has influenced mainstream fashion and collaborated with renowned designers, bringing elements of Rasta style to a broader audience. Here are a few examples of Rastafarian-inspired fashion trends and collaborations:

Reggae-inspired Streetwear: Streetwear brands have embraced Rastafarian imagery and symbolism, incorporating it into their collections. From graphic tees featuring iconic figures like Bob Marley to hoodies and caps showcasing Rasta colors and motifs, reggae-inspired streetwear has become a popular trend.

Designer Collaborations: Various fashion designers have collaborated with Rastafarian artists or brands, resulting in unique and impactful collections. Collaborations between luxury fashion houses and Rasta-inspired labels have led to runway shows featuring bold prints, vibrant colors, and innovative designs.

Natural Hair Movement: The resurgence of the natural hair movement has also drawn inspiration from Rastafarian aesthetics. Embracing natural hairstyles, including dreadlocks and afros, has become a powerful statement of self-expression and cultural pride, aligning with Rasta values.

These examples highlight the enduring influence of Rastafarian fashion and its ability to inspire diverse interpretations in contemporary fashion. By celebrating Rastafarian icons, contemporary individuals, and collaborations, we recognize the ongoing impact of Rasta style and its contribution to the ever-evolving world of fashion.

Embracing Rastafarian Dress with Respect and Awareness

Cultural Appreciation versus Cultural Appropriation

When embracing Rastafarian dress, it is essential to understand the distinction between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. Cultural appreciation involves respectfully acknowledging and celebrating a culture’s traditions, aesthetics, and values. It fosters understanding, inclusivity, and a genuine desire to learn from and honor the culture. On the other hand, cultural appropriation refers to the adoption or use of elements from a culture without understanding or respecting their significance, often leading to the trivialization or commodification of those elements.

When incorporating Rastafarian dress into your personal style, approach it with a mindset of cultural appreciation rather than appropriation. Appreciate the deep roots, history, and meaning behind Rastafarian fashion, and aim to honor and celebrate its cultural heritage authentically.

Educating Yourself about Rastafarianism

Before embracing Rastafarian dress, take the time to educate yourself about Rastafarianism, its history, and its values. Familiarize yourself with the principles, beliefs, and practices of the movement. Learn about the struggles faced by Rastafarians, their contributions to social justice, and their ongoing fight against oppression. Understanding the significance and context of Rastafarian dress will enable you to approach it with greater respect and appreciation.

Resources such as books, documentaries, and online platforms can provide valuable insights into Rastafarianism and its cultural expressions. Engage with Rastafarian communities, if possible, to gain firsthand knowledge and learn from their experiences.

Approaching Rastafarian Dress with Sincerity and Respect

When incorporating Rastafarian elements into your wardrobe, it is crucial to approach it with sincerity and respect. Avoid turning Rastafarian dress into a mere costume or caricature. Here are some key points to consider:

Avoid Stereotypes: Rastafarianism is a diverse movement with its own unique expressions and individual interpretations. Avoid perpetuating stereotypes or reducing Rastafarian dress to a simplistic portrayal. Appreciate the complexity and depth of the culture, allowing it to guide your choices with authenticity.

Respectful Representation: Aim to represent Rastafarian dress accurately and respectfully. Consider the cultural significance of the elements you choose to incorporate, understanding their meanings and contexts. Use Rastafarian fashion as an opportunity to celebrate the movement’s heritage, rather than appropriating it for superficial or trend-driven reasons.

Seek Permission: Be mindful of using specific symbols, such as the lion of Judah or the Rastafari flag, and respect their sacredness. If uncertain about appropriating specific elements, seek guidance from Rastafarian individuals or communities, ensuring that your choices are respectful and culturally informed.

Appreciate the Whole Picture: Rastafarianism encompasses not only fashion but also spiritual, social, and political aspects. Appreciate the holistic nature of the movement and recognize that embracing Rastafarian dress should align with a deeper understanding and respect for its values and principles.


Embracing Rastafarian dress is not only a form of self-expression but also a celebration of diversity, cultural heritage, and unity. Throughout this blog post, we have explored various aspects of Rastafarian fashion, from its historical roots to its spiritual and symbolic meanings. Here is a summary of the key points discussed:

  • Rastafarianism holds significant cultural and historical importance, representing a movement rooted in African heritage and promoting social justice and equality.
  • Rastafarian dress serves as a powerful means of self-expression and cultural identity, embodying the values and principles of the movement.
  • Understanding Rastafarian fashion requires knowledge of its key elements, including colors, fabrics, symbols, and clothing choices such as dreadlocks and head coverings.
  • Incorporating Rastafarian elements into your style can be done with respect and intention. Embrace the colors, choose appropriate clothing styles, and accessorize thoughtfully.
  • Rastafarian fashion icons, both historical and contemporary, inspire and shape the movement, while collaborations and trends in the fashion industry further contribute to its influence.

As readers, we encourage you to embrace Rastafarian dress with sincerity, respect, and cultural awareness. By appreciating and honoring the cultural significance behind Rasta style, we can celebrate diversity, foster inclusivity, and promote unity among different communities.

To further explore Rastafarian fashion and culture, we recommend the following resources:

  • Books: “Rastafari: A Very Short Introduction” by Ennis B. Edmonds and “Rastafari: Roots and Ideology” by Barry Chevannes.
  • Documentaries: “The Story of Jamaican Music” and “Marley” provide insights into the history and cultural impact of Rastafarianism and reggae music.
  • Online platforms: Explore Rastafarian websites, blogs, and social media accounts dedicated to sharing authentic perspectives and experiences.

Remember, embracing Rastafarian dress is not just about fashion but also about embracing the values of unity, equality, and social justice that underpin the movement. Let Rastafarian fashion be a celebration of cultural diversity, an expression of respect, and a pathway to deeper cultural understanding and appreciation.

Final Note

If you’re interested in learning who is Jah and exploring Rastafarian recipes, we invite you to check out Fifth Degree and our collection of Jamaican clothing. We believe that what you wear can be a powerful expression of your values and beliefs, and we’re proud to offer a range of high-quality, stylish, and socially conscious reggae colors clothing for individuals who are seeking to live in harmony with nature and the divine. Visit our website today to learn more about Buju Banton, best part of Jamaica to vacation, mens joggers sale, rasta sweater, sloth slippers, hippie yoga pants, rasta dress and find the perfect Rastafarian clothes for woman for you.

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