African Fashion Fashion

3 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Ankara Wax Print’s Origin

The Ankara wax print also known as Dutch wax print is one of the popular clothing material in Africa, especially here in the Western part of the continent. The only way you won’t get to see attairs made with this fabric down here a day is, probably staying indoor all through. These beautiful bright coloured fabrics are one of the biggest movement in the Afrocentric fashion, they’re omini present on our runways and a mark of The Motherland anytime caught in the diaspora, but here are some facts you need to know about the Ankara Wax Print.

  • Ankara Wasn’t Originally Created For Africans

Anytime people talk about African fashion, you hear them mention Ankara on a go, but that’s not how it started. Ankara wax print was influenced or let me say was an imitation of the Javanese’s (Indonesian’s) batik.

Batik is a method of dyeing clothes using wax-resiste techinique, it’s an ancient method of making clothes in Java and it’s a method the Indonesians take pride in, but during the the time Dutch colonize Indonesia, the Dutch merchants found batik and got familiar with it. They then took the sample of batik back to Netherlands and tried to modernize the fabrics for the people of Indonesia.

Around 1850, they started developing machine printing process that could imitate batik, and that’s how Ankara Print was born, it’s a mechanical version of the Javanes’s traditional batik.

  • Ankara was a faliure

After the Dutch had had the help of machines and successful created something that looked like the Indonesian’s batik, obviously without all the labour-intensive work. They then took it to the Indonesian market but unfortunately, the modernized batik was unable to penetrate the Indonesians market. The Indonesians didn’t like the fabric and doesn’t see it as something close to their traditional batik, and even with the low price on the machine printed batik, it couldn’t win the hearts of the Indonesians.

  • We Adopted Ankara

After the failure of Ankara in Indonesia, the Dutch shipped Ankara to Africa and the unaccept fabrics in Indonesia started received a strong reception in West Africa, especially in the 1880s, the Dutch wax prints quickly integrated themselves into the African apparel, names like “Wax Hollandaise”, “Veritable Dutch Hollandaise” became famous in the African fashion industry.

The print grew more and more popular, spreading through the whole continent and in the mid-twentieth century, the print became more popular, it became our party wears, traditional wears and then it became an Africa owned fabrics.

And that’s the brief history of how Ankara came to stay, if you’d like to see some fabrics that orginated from Africa, check this article, thanks for checking my website, LOL❣️.

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