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This versatile print is not the only way to 'Tell the African Style Story'

With Aso Oke, Adire and even more Nigerian designers can explore more traditional details/tell African stories without using Ankara!

Model in a piece by Demestik By Reuben Reuel

This popular print (Ankara) is one of the most versatile prints used all over the world right now and it's hot no doubt but there are others that are patiently waiting unexplored and what's wrong in tapping into that?

Ankara has been used so much it has to get a break! It's become a fad that's getting/got out of hand. From chic designs to basic ones, to bags, shoes, jewelry, Ankara is slowly being (has been) abused and for a fabric that has gone global and influenced major brands that's unimpressive.

The way this otherwise beautiful and versatile fabric has been 'abused' everywhere around is a representation of how lazy an average fashion creative has gotten.


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.

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 but the print needs a break (or at best left in the hands of those who craft pieces off it to perfection).

What Lisa Folawiyo does with Ankara- embellishing print pieces has gained popularity and has adorned the bodies of popular celebrities all over the world but there's more to telling the African style story apart from using Ankara.

The Aso-Okes, Adire, and more creative prints and traditional textiles telling rich African stories are yet to be richly explored- this is not to say The Lisa Folawiyos, Stella Jean, Asiyami Gold, Tina Lonbodi, Demestik by Reuben Reuel and more are doing badly with this fabric.

Maki Oh also does amazing work with 'Adire' crafted into contemporary designs that have been seen on Solange Knowles, Beyonce, Michelle Obama to name a few.


Orange Culture also employs tie and dye on designs that have paraded major runways all over the world and emerging brand Ladunni Lambo is definitely on to something infusing Aso Oke in the most creative way one stylish look at a time.

This iconic fabric (no doubt) created as batik knockoffs for Indonesians will continue to catch on globally but for right now can it just be left to rest?

Can designers get creative with other fabrics that can tell the 'African Story' and maybe create their designs on any fabric while at it? That's telling the African Story creatively.


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