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