Redesigning kaba (blouse) as functional apparel suitable for lactating mothers

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Kaba is fashion apparel that has come to stay among Ghanaian women since time immemorial. The apparel was and is worn to accentuate female modesty, chastity and elegance. Kaba is one of the important apparels seen to form an integral part in the wardrobe of the lactating mother. This is partly because of the cover cloth which forms part of the local ensemble usually used to carry the baby at the back of the mother. Despite its use among the women folks in the country and by breastfeeding mothers, it is poised with a lot of challenges. The openings usually positioned at the back of the blouse are meant to aid easy on and off doffing. When these openings are undone, they expose other parts of the mother‟s body such as shoulders, tummy and chest. These cause a lot of discomfort and embarrassment to the mother when breastfeeding especially in public places. This study therefore, seeks to redesign kaba as functional apparel suitable for lactating mothers. To achieve this, the following objectives were set, thus to identify kaba (blouse) and its related problems to lactating mothers, to redesign and construct a suitable kaba (blouse) apparel for lactating mothers and to evaluate the efficacy of the redesigned kaba (blouse) for lactating mothers. The scope of the study covered selected hospitals in some municipalities in the Ashanti region of Ghana due to proximity. The study adopted the qualitative research design and employed the descriptive and experimental research to assess the functional suitability of the redesigned apparel to breastfeeding. From the data gathered, breastfeeding mothers faced the problem of uncomfortability breastfeeding in the kaba apparel primarily because the zippers provided at the back of the kaba was only functional for easy on and off donning but not a functionality for breastfeeding. In order to solve these and still maintain the fitting shape of the apparel, darts were manipulated during the construction process of the kaba (blouse) and fasteners inserted as closures to the openings created. The apparels were given to selected breastfeeding mothers to use to ascertain its effectiveness in breastfeeding. Experiments conducted with the reviewed kaba affirmed the apparels suitability, comfortability and acceptability for breastfeeding. It is therefore recommended that, the researcher in collaboration with the health centres should make efforts to educate new mothers on the need to acquire functional apparels suitable for the purpose of breastfeeding and that inferences drawn from the designs be replicated on other traditional garment to promote the local garment industry
A thesis submitted to the Department of Integrated Rural Art and Industry in the Faculty of Art College of Art and Built Environment, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Philosophy
Redesigning kaba, apparel suitable, lactating mothers