I’ve been watching the tribal fashion trend since 2007, when Kevan Hall introduced his Africa : A Safari collection at LA fashion week. The tribal fashion editorials in 2009 and 10 typically took a primitive/african approach, using elaborate face paint, cuffed ankles with bare feet, plaited and twisted hair, head wraps, ornate head pieces, tribal props and other african regalia.
2010-11 tribal fashion veered ever-so-slightly away from Africa, yet keeping an exotic appeal. Revamped, the trend embraced a global array using natural materials, multi-color and geometric prints, intricate color blocking, hand worked stitching and beading, tassels, woven garments and details, talisman style statement necklaces, earrings and wrist cuffs (See the mix of examples below).
2012 tribal is a style mash-up and what I call, “cultural traveller” with a crazy-color psychedelic twist. Current tribal fashion puts color and pattern in the forefront, exaggerates and overlays prints making a feast for the eyes and a conundrum for the brain. Cultural traveller style homogenizes the intricacies and textures of the global tribal array into a color injected hodge-podge of ethnic references; not so tribal and not mainstream fashion either (Depicted in the Cultural Traveller set above).