Behind the name: Afrihili Smockwear

We get many questions about our name. Much more than about our products. We like to think that this is because our products are relatively simple and our name is not.

The top questions  are:   “What is a Smock?” and “What is the meaning of Afrihili?”

In the absence of a  Frequently Asked Question  section of our website, we will use this post to address these questions.  

For the record, a “smock” or more specifically, a “traditional smock” in West Africa refers to a tunic-like shirt made from traditional fabrics usually worn for work or casual occasions.  A good way to think about the functionality of smocks is to consider them the traditional equivalent of Jeans. 

An interesting fact is, the traditional fabric used in making these “smocks” can also be called smocks.  To continue the jeans analogy, this is similar to how “denim” may refer to the raw material (fabric) and also the finished product (jeans).

Secondly, “Afrihili” is derived from the combination of the words “Africa” and “Swahili.  The word came into prominence in the 1970’s as the name of a new language meant to be the common language for all of Africa.   Sadly, the language idea did not gain much traction.

All this begs the question, “Why call the business - Afrihili Smockwear?”

The short answer is, because we can.  The longer version is, we did so for two reasons.

 First, we like the name   “Afrihili” because it is simple and memorable.  Also the origin of the name aligns with the vision for the business.   

And second, we went with “Smockwear” because it sounded cool and original.  And frankly because it was better than the other options we considered like “Apparel” and “Casual Wear”.

On a more serious note, we recognize that a name is just one of many variables that go into the making of a successful business. So even though we believe our name to be  original, cool and clever, we try not to make a big deal of it. Ultimately,  its the essence of the business that matters.  And to borrow a quote from  Shakespeare,  "that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet".