The African Wax Revolution

Beyoncé made LEMONADE in a mixed Ankara Print gown, H & M went tribal, together with Burberry Prorsum, Miu Miu and Consuelo Castiglioni – they all found their way to these fabrics/patterns:

The Dutch Wax Print aka African wax printAnkara Fabric, African Holland, Wax Print, omnipresent and common material for African clothing, especially West Africa. So you’d think we owned it – invented it, produce it and of course flaunt it. But anyone whose read the history knows that these fabrics have their origin in Indonesia and the favourite fabrics of Africa came from a European attempt to reproduce traditional Indonesian batik method. Often the graphics are based on everyday mundane objects such as alarm clocks, coffee pots, shoes, umbrellas, mirrors, leafs, laptops, even buildings. Others are just geographic. Looking at these graphics my daughter would say to me, “That’s not really African!”. Nowadays, African countries produce their own versions, which in turn has more tribal-like patterns and African motifs. So yes, Africans and their ideas are eventually influencing the “African fabric” more and more. The Chinese are insisting on also having a say, as imitations run amok. The design of the wax print fabrics already has an influence on the international world of fashion and lifestyle. They are an inspirational source for designers and companies.

Here’s the question:

As the authentic 100% cotton fabric we all know and love comes to terms with the advancement of science, the cotton prints are losing ground to synthetic versions. This I personally feel is a shame as there is something satisfying in the touch and feel of cotton. Furthermore, cotton is sustanable and synthetics are not really your friend in under the hot, punishing sun that is prevelant on the African continent. With the present increase of interest in the African print, and it vulgarisation, will this “in-ness” of “African” influence increase or wane with time? In vogue invariably means, in time, out of vogue. So lets strike while the iron’s hot…





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Image sourced from