The 'Ankara'/ 'African Print' has become a style item and one that inspires designs from domestic designers to international ones all over the world; Stella Jean, Duro Olowu and Dutch retail giant Vlisco are amongst the brands known to infuse a lot of prints into their designs and these 7 reasons form how the fabric intended as batik knockoffs for Indonesians is making global impact.
'Ankara'/'African Prints' is one of the most versatile fabric around the world. Synonymous with West Africa, these print designs come in various forms but they all retain a certain richness, vibrancy, bold motifs making them stand out everytime.
There are easily reasons why the piece has become a style phenomenon across the globe and these 7 form reasons they remain evergreen all the world over:
Ankara made its way from the Indonesian industry it was created for into West Africa and became a style phenomenon. A common fabric in Africa because of its colorful features and tribal-like motifs, it is usually presented in 100% cotton with bold vibrant patterns.
The ‘Ankara’ print has gained a fashionable global audience as it’s used on pieces everywhere around the world.
Known in different names in different places, it’s called ‘Dutch wax’ in Ghana, ‘Kanga prints’ in Tanzania and other East African countries, known as Ikat, Batik, mud cloth and so on.
Ankara is also referred to as /African prints/African Wax Prints/Holland Wax and more but one thing remains, they feature bold prints in different designs.
Ankara was first introduced to the market as cheap mass produced imitations of Indonesian batik materials before they became synonymous with Africa (West Africa particularly)
The Ankara print materials are made through an Indonesian wax-resist dyeing technique called Batik which entails a technique to make the fabric resist the dye from getting through to the entire fabric, thereby creating a pattern (the ultimate print that’s so desired)
Ankara print fabrics are presented in whole; twelve (12) or half; six (6) yards . The now famous print was originally made for the Indonesian market but it became accepted in West Africa due to its flashy colors and bold tribal tendencies and became a symbol of traditional fashion till date.
From West Africa, this fabric became acceptable in different parts of the world influencing the works of notable designers who have at a time infused the fabric into their work or influenced their print details on pieces.
Ankara has become a piece seen on A-list celebrities around the world, Rihanna’s famous Stella Jean look is purely ‘ankara’/print detailed, Solange knowles has been pictured in bold print looks and many more.
This made way for Nigeria based designers including Lisa Folawiyo known for her embellished ankara pieces shown over major runways in the world, as well as pictured on celebrities all over the world.
Ankara/Africa Print remains a fab piece not going anywhere soon if anything, its dynamics keep getting stronger by the day and because they come in 100% cotton they are versatile and there’s no limit to how they can be crafted.