Initially the kanzu was imported and was made from either cotton or linen, a combination of reasons that kept it out of reach of the majority. But as time passed, it began trickling down to ordinary Baganda. The men began making the kanzu from barkcloth, the traditional clothing material used then.
With time, they began making it from cheaper fabrics like silk and poplin, which was brought in by Indian and Arab traders. Today the kanzu is made from silk, cotton, poplin and linen. Linen kanzus are the most expensive. While adopting the kanzu, the Baganda made some changes to its design, making their version
different from all the other tunics worn around the world, especially those from its parent design from Arabia.This outfit originally was introduced by Arabs. The most significant addition to the kanzu by the Baganda was the embroidery added around the collar, abdomen and the sleeves. This embroidery, called ‘Omulela’, is unique to the Uganda kanzu and it is hand sewn.
In the 1930s and 1940s, the Baganda also added the tradition of wearing a coat atop the kanzu. By picking the blazer from the dress culture of the Europeans, who were the colonial power then the Baganda created a hybrid of Arabian and British dress code. The kanzu in Uganda today is worn in many areas complete with a coat, save for the Muslims who prefer to keep it as plain as the Arabs. However, some Muslims add a tarboosh on the head.
Tarboosh or ‘Entalabusi’ is mainly worn in Turkey and Morocco. However, Tarboosh (head cap) is not an Islamic requirement for men to wear. It is due to specific countries traditions and practice..
As Buganda’s culture spread to other areas of Uganda, the kanzu spread with it and could rightly be the ‘the unofficial national dress of Ugandan men’.Buganda folks have sort of created a hybrid from Colonial dress and Arabic version.The outfit is certainly Arabic in its origin.
So, basically Kanzu is a traditional dress of Buganda people and not Uganda although popular in many districts.