Many know Ankara as African print, but although it is a signature staple of african fashion and style, what I like about it is its rich history encompassing influences from many aspects of the world. Also know as Dutch wax print or Dutch java, Ankara printing is carried out using an ancient Indonesian dyeing process, similar to how batik fabric from India is made. This results in bright colours that penetrate the fabric and a rich in tone on both sides.
The good thing is, when using Ankara to create a style, the clothing can be worn on the wrong side and the right side, depending on stitching. Reversible and multi-functional clothing can then be manipulated and worn in a multitude of ways, encouraging your personal style to be visible through what’s in fashion.
Haitian-Italian designer Stella Jean incorporates Ankara into her collections, as seen below…
So how did Ankara become a characteristics of African fashion? Well, what was intended for an Indonesian market became quite popular in the African fashion industry instead, so the Dutch just rolled with it…While the origins may not be completely out of Africa, many people associate Ankara the most with Africa as the mass market has embraced it over time.
Would you wear Ankara print?
There’s Ankara out there to suit everyone and it is especially popular with musicians and celebrites…probably because we all know how much they like all eyes on them!