The Blue Men of the Sahara: Why the Nomadic Tuareg People Wear Blue Clothes

The Saharan daraa (the long and loose gown) and the tagelmusts (the cloth used as a turban) are garments from northern Africa that go back as far as the 7th and 8th centuries. Today, the fashion styles trending in African cities are those from the Western world. But for the nomadic Tuareg people, the so-called "blue men of the Sahara," these garments remain as the main attire.

The question is, why won't they change their look? Well, the answer is simple. The clothes are effective against the desert's scorching heat.

According to Dahid Jdeidou, the local guide in Mauritania, the daraa allows for the right airflow, and helps the person conserve body water while he travels across the desert.

But it doesn't mean that the style doesn't evolve. Thanks to the low-cost chemical dyes from Asia and Europe, it is now possible to have fabrics with varying shades of blue.

But why blue? The reason is people who had white daraas had the privilege to clean their clothes everyday. Those with colored daraas are people from the lower class.

Learn more about the history of the garments over at BBC Travel.

(All Images: Juan Martinez)

#History #Daraa #Tagelmusts #Sahara #Tuareg #Fashion

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