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History of African Wax Print (Ankara)

History of African Wax prints, also known as Ankara and Dutch wax prints, are very known materials for cloth making in Africa, especially in West Africa.

Wax Print was introduced to West and Central Africans by Dutch merchants during the 19th century, who took inspiration from native Indonesian techniques and Akwete cloth designs (The basic Akwete cloth is usually made of cotton thread whilst the decorative patterns and effects are added with a thread of heavier texture or contrasting colors. The elaborately modern versions of the cloth could be made entirely of silk, rayon, polyester, and lurex).

Two-piece Ankara Kimono Dress ikrest

These Dutch merchants began to adapt their designs and colors to suit the tastes of the African market. They are industrially produced colorful cotton cloths with batik-inspired printing. One feature of these materials is the lack of difference in the color intensity of the front and back sides. The wax fabric can be sorted into categories of quality due to the processes of manufacturing.

Wax prints are a type of nonverbal communication among African women, and thereby carry their messages out into the world. Wearing of the African wax print is no more a thing for just ‘mothers and grandmothers’, especially at a time when “Wear Made in Ghana” has widely been advocated for in Ghana and other West African Countries. Before West African women mostly wore it to church but in recent times, the African Print is being worn irrespective of the day or occasion.

History of African Wax Print

In Sub-Saharan Africa, these textiles have an annual sales volume of 2.1 billion yards, with an average production cost of $2.6 billion and a retail value of $4 billion.

Ghana has an annual consumption of textiles of about 130 million yards (120 million meters). The three largest local manufacturers, Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL), Ghana Textiles Print (GTP), and Printex, produce 30 million yards, while 100 million yards come from inexpensive smuggled Asian imports.

You should also know that top brands are also producing designs from Wax Prints, Christian Dior used some unprecedented methods for its Resort 2020 collection.

Ankara Mix and Match Pant
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