WHAT IS ANKARA FABRIC?
What is Ankara fabric? Alternatively known as African Print fabric or Dutch wax print, Ankara fabric is worn throughout Africa, particularly in West Africa. With patterns that signify status or commemorate cultural events or key points in history such as Ghana’s Independence Day, Ankara fabric is used by both men and women for suits, dresses and other items. Tamburai and Pauline Chirume, the mother-daughter founders of ONEOFEACH, feature the Ankara prints on their unique handbags and clutch bags. Continue reading below to learn more.
WHAT IS ANKARA FABRIC: VIBRANT & COLORFUL TEXTILES
Ankara fabric is machine made using a batik-inspired cloth dyeing method that employs wax-resist techniques to create a pattern. The batik cloths were traditionally handmade in Indonesia but the machine made versions were copied by the Dutch and introduced to West Africa in the 1880’s and have grown in popularity ever since.
The patterns of the colorful Ankara cotton cloths continue across the entire garment, both front and back, which is one major identifier of this type of printing. The quality of the fabric is a direct reflection of the manufacturing process. The producer, name of the product, and registration number of the design are all printed on the edge of the fabric so that the quality is recognized.
WHAT IS ANKARA FABRIC: THE LINEAGE
Prior to the 1960s, most African wax fabric sold in Africa was manufactured in Europe. Now, Africa is home to the production of some of the highest quality wax prints. Due to their high value, the most well-made African wax print fabrics are collected by women depending on the significance of the occasion.
African wax prints worn as clothing became a nonverbal way of communication among African women early on. Used as a shared language with widely understood meanings, the prints have represented a way to carry messages out into the world for centuries.
WHAT IS ANKARA FABRIC: MODERN WOMENSWEAR
When’s the last time you’ve looked inside of your wardrobe and found nothing to wear? Perhaps you settle on your favorite black dress - a tried and true favorite that you feel confident and comfortable in. Then it’s time to accessorize. You reach for a purse but nothing seems to truly pop and tie your outfit together. Look no further: with ONEOFEACH, every clutch bag showcases a beautiful bespoke design that is attractive and enticing to the eye.
With locally-sourced, traditional African fabrics at the center of their designs, ONEOFEACH draws inspiration from West African and South African culture and fabrics. Many of their vividly-colored fabrics depict events, proverbs, important people, or local flora and fauna found in Africa. Both Ankara and Shweshwe, a fabric similar to Ankara but otherwise known as the denim of South Africa, remain the most striking aspects of ONEOFEACH’s designs. In a tasteful twist, ONEOFEACH fuses these prints with materials like leather and suede to keep their designs fresh and modern. A functional travel accessory, the handmade clutch seamlessly morphs into a cross body bag.
ONEOFEACH handbags are unique ways to accent an outfit. Consider one of the vibrant prints for a dependable carry-all accessory that supportively transitions from day into night.