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Experience the Beauty of African Print or Ankara

Sep 30, 2022 09:00AM ● By Anand Subramanian

Adding prints to our wardrobes is a way to make our looks memorable. Intricately arranged patterns representing African history, customs, and culture give African prints their distinctive aesthetic. Knowing the history of Ankara fabric and African designs is essential before discussing their worldwide effect and clothing line in the United States, whether your goal is to tell a narrative with your outfit or make your style more fashion forward.


As the world knows, Ankara (also known as African wax print) is a popular and adaptable textile. The prints are vivid, eye-catching, and very flexible. They're lively and aesthetically enticing. They always look stunning. These print designs, which have come to be associated with West Africa, take several shapes, but they are always distinguished by their abundance of color and striking patterns. The African designs on Ankara fabric never lose their vividness, which is a major plus compared to other printed materials. The fabric was printed using a "wax resistant" process. In today's society, Ankara fabric is expected to be worn at every gathering. As a result, creatives in the fashion industry are responding to this shift by developing new, eye-catching garment patterns.

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Ankara is not of African but European heritage. Ankara, previously known as "Dutch wax print," was first produced by the Dutch for the Indonesian textile market in the 19th century, drawing inspiration from traditional Indonesian techniques and the patterns seen on Akwete fabric. However, it was intended that these prints would be more prevalent in West Africa than in Indonesia; this shift in attention from Indonesia to West Africa ultimately led to the Dutch colonization of that region. Historically, people have associated Ankara with solely cultural events and with the poor or otherwise excluded from access to more expensive Western fashion. They are bright, cotton fabrics that are mass-produced and include batik-style printing. There is no visible change in hue between the two faces of these materials. Because of the several steps in the production process, wax cloth may be ranked according to quality.

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Beyoncé is only one of many celebrities who have appeared in wax print Ankara, having made her debut in the illustrious archives of Reuben Reuel's Demestiks label many years ago. Even Solange enjoys a good print now and again. Famous fashion houses have also inspired stunning patterns for their following lines. Numerous designers, including Stella JeanDuro OlowuChristie Brown of GhanaLisa Folawiyo of Nigeria, and many more, have incorporated African prints heavily into their work. Lunar, Aimas, Tiffany Amber, MoMo, Gloss, and Cranberry are just a few fashion experts who have revitalized the industry with their expertise and imagination. Ankara's availability in eye-catching patterns means it may be seen on runways and at award ceremonies. This cotton fabric is versatile enough to be worn to both professional and formal events, thanks to its assortment of designs. Small-scale printed patterns on an outfit will work well. 


Curious to discover more Ankara garments? Do you wish you had one to share with your family? Don't worry; we've got you covered with our top directory of Ankara-friendly retailers and labels.

Retails and Labels Selling Ankara Clothing

 Anand Subramanian is a freelance photographer and content writer based out of Tamil Nadu, India. Having a background in Engineering always made him curious about life on the other side of the spectrum. He leapt forward towards the Photography life and never looked back. Specializing in Documentary and  Portrait photography gave him an up-close and personal view into the complexities of human beings and those experiences helped him branch out from visual to words. Today he is mentoring passionate photographers and writing about the different dimensions of the art world.

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