Ankara fabric/African Wax Print – Africa is a continent with rich cultural heritage. One of the things used in identifying Africans wherever they are is their way of dressing. Ankara fabric also called African print wax, Dutch wax or Hollandaise wax is popular fabric used in making African prints or Ankara cloth. This fabric is widely patronized because of its colorful and beautiful appearance. Ankara fabric is 100% cotton fabric and it is produced by a method known as batik. As at today, Ankara has gotten a great recognition beyond Africa. African print wax is not a totally local fabric because you can make modern styles with it. It is worthy to note that this fabric is a light weight Fabric, non woven and has a smooth feeling. African print wax is sold in yards.
History of Ankara fabric/African Print Wax
On hearing the name, you may think that this fabric originated from Africa. No, Ankara fabric was introduced by Dutch merchant to Africa in the 19th century. They took inspiration from other existing African fabric such as Akwete and native Indonesian technique of fabric production. Ankara fabric is popular in West African and Central Africa. The producers of this fabric later took consideration into some aspects and elements of African culture and tradition. Thus, they incorporated designs such as tribal patterns, motifs, symbols, status of the wearer and others.
Traditional Symbolism of African Print Wax
In Africa, Ankara wax print is among their cultural heritage. You can identify the elders and village heads in an occasion based on their African print dress style. For easy identification, groups of women and men used this fabric to sew uniforms. This fabric can have special motifs or symbols which makes it easier to identify the status of someone in an occasion or any other place. African print wax can also serve as a funeral or mourning dress style. In this case, special colors and designs are used. Ankara wax print can serve as a traditional wedding dress, child dedication outfit and so many others.
Uses of Ankara Fabric
1. In making Clothes: Whether you are a man or woman, you can make amazing dress styles with this fabric. Ankara fabric can be used in making skirts and blouses, gowns, tops, jackets, jumpsuits, trousers and shirts. Also the popular two pieces wrapper and Blouse worn among African women can be made using Ankara fabric.
2. In the making of other wearable accessories: Ankara fabric is now used in the making of beautiful earrings, shoes, handbags, necklaces, scarves, bangles and even notebook covers. When you are putting on an Ankara dress style, you can opt for customized accessories with the exact or other Ankara fabric types.
Types of African Print Wax
This fabric maybe further classified based on the process of producing it and its designs. Here, we want to classify it according to its texture.
Non- Stretchy Print Wax – The non stretchy African print wax seems to be the most popular. It is widely used to achieve a lot of Styles. One of the characteristic of this wax print is that the exact design reflects on the back of the fabric.
Stretchy Print Wax – This wax print is not too popular. It is used in making dresses that requires to be stretchy. You can use it in making bubu gowns, tops and head scarves. It may look like crepe fabric, but the design will make you to know that it is Ankara wax print design.
Is Ankara Fabric Durable?
One of the things that determines the durability of this fabric is the material used in producing it. If it is 100% cotton, then, know that it will be durable. If it is made with low quality material, its durability will not be much. One of the things that will guide you in recognizing an Original African print wax is the texture. Low quality print wax appears stiff and may shade color while high quality print wax will have a soft feeling and doesn’t shade color. Also, High quality African fabric wax easily absorbs water while the low quality will take more time in absorbing water. When you meet sincere Ankara vendors, they may equally let you know that the original Ankara wax print is more expensive than the low quality Ankara wax print.
How to Care for African Print Wax
In order not to promote the crackling effect on Ankara fabric, great care should be taken when washing this fabric. Its maintenance cost is not high but it is good you know the best way to handle it.
1. Hand wash this fabric in cold water. Don’t used hot water in washing this fabric because it may make it to appear wrinkled and fade easily.
2. Wash white fabrics separately.
3. Wash this fabric with a mild soap. Avoid making use of strong detergents and bleach so as to prevent shading of colors and easy fading.
4. After washing this fabric, sun dry.
5. Iron and keep this fabric in a good condition.
6. Wash only when necessary and avoid washing too often.
How to Style Ankara Fabric
Like I said earlier, you can make fascinating styles with this fabric. At times, you can incorporate other plain fabric designs for a glamorous look. There is another popular method of styling this fabric known as mix and match. In this method, designs of African print wax which maybe the same or complementary with different color is combined together. When you are comfortable with the design of this fabric, there may not be the need of incorporating other fabrics types. Other beautiful fabrics such as lace, velvet, crepe, chiffon may be used in combination with this fabric.
Where can you wear this fabric dress styles to?
One of the reasons why this fabric is gaining more recognition is its versatility. You can style and Wear this fabric dress styles to so many occasions. You can never go wrong if you wear it to Wedding as a guest, dedication ceremony, Church and even as a Friday office wear.
I think you have known more about Ankara fabric/African Print Wax, history, uses, types and styling and maintenance.
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