Created originally as batik knockoffs for Indonesians, West Africa adopted the print that's now widely claimed as African! It was intentionally made for the Indonesian market by the Dutch but embraced by West Africa, Ankara became the African claim to fashion fame because of the burst of vibrant prints it features.
Did you know this print fabric wasn't originally African?
The iconic Ankara fabric is usually claimed as an African invention but errr not really!
Ankara is a rich versatile print that has been creatively worked on over the years. There's no mistaking the fact that this print trend has travelled far and wide. It has become a style item and one that has inspired/ influenced designs from Stella Jean, Duro Olowu and locally Lisa Folawiyo.
The colourful print that has formed inspiration for major fashion brands all over the world is a beauty no doubt.
Known in different names including ‘Dutch wax’ in Ghana, ‘Kanga prints’ in Tanzania and other East African countries as Ikat, Batik, mud cloth and so on, the print is inarguably a global phenomenon!
The now famous print became accepted in West Africa because of its bold colours, stand out prints and bold tribal tendencies that are usually presented in twelve (12) or half six (6) yards.
Because it comes in 100% cotton (most of the time), it's versatile enough to be crafted into any style; traditional or modern so much that it's easily the most used fabric for any design; dresses, skirts, capes,accessories become unique when done in part or as a whole in Ankara and they are accepted all over the world.
The Ankara's versatility, richness in colour, durability, uniqueness and timeless appeal makes it one 'trend' that will transcend centuries and continue catching on globally.
Ankara has been exported all around the world, Stella Jean's designs are largely influenced by the trend, Duro Olowu also uses the versatile print in his works and back in Nigeria the likes of Lisa Folawiyo, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi have made African print a huge part of their designs. Stella McCartney faced a backlash just recently after she laced her SS18 collection with five solid print designs inspired by this gorgeous print.
The Ankara has no doubt found a home in Africa but for it being claimed strictly as an African invention, errr not really!
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