Multi-Ethnic Prints & Motifs: Ankara

Given the fashion and design industry’s recent obsession with all “ethnic” prints, I wanted to share a guide to you all of the prints and motifs that we are seeing a lot of lately. My goal? To eradicate usage of the terms “ethnic” or “tribal” prints, but to specify what they are. Let us begin with Ankara.


Ankara fabric

Origin & History:

First developed in Holland, Ankara fabric was formerly called “Dutch Wax”, given the method of wax block printing that create such a unique, color fabric. The Dutch traded this fabric to the Gold Coast, and in turn, spread over the majority of West Africa, becoming very popular in Nigeria. The fiber content is primarily cotton, but over time has been blended with polyester to increase its strength. Ghana is the primary producer of Ankara fabrics today.


Given it’s lightweight texture, Ankara has various uses, it’s main use being festive clothing for special events. We also see Ankara used for accessories like totes and pouches.


As of late, we see Ankara in the designs of Côté Minou and the more contemporary, Boxing Kitten, among many others.

Côté Minou Outfits
Looks from the Boxing Kitten SS 2011 Collection

Hope you like this background info on one of my favorite African prints! I will be posting once a week on others.


One thought on “Multi-Ethnic Prints & Motifs: Ankara

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s