Monday, October 24, 2016

The Ankara Fabric: Origins of African Design

Following the idea introduced in one of our latest articles, as we were talking about the European origins of wax print fabrics in African fashion, we couldn't go on forgetting about probably the most popular of these fabrics since the beginning, and it is of course the Ankara fabric, sometimes considered as the real and only African wax fabric itself, but with a particular history lesson that is interesting to learn.

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Whether if you call it Dutch Wax Print, Ankara Print or just African Print, we find it amazing to discover how a Made in Europe product conceived, designed, marketed and delivered for the Asian market (specially to be sold in Indonesia), and a design which was actually getting inspiration in the then trendy Asian patterns, ended up becoming a best seller fabric in West and Central Africa, not despising the genius vision of those producers to adapt and shift their market target, becoming a design reference for the African continent.

Even if new competitors have since the beginning of this trend entered the African clothing market, and therefore the authority in fabric production has clearly shifted from Europe to China, the Ankara fabric has become and remained a hallmark for African design and fashion, being assimilated and integrated by many African cultures to be remembered as it always was a pure African creation. Maybe that's the way any art form has ever been born.


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