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african prints

Ankara Fabrics and African Prints: Essential Things to Know

If you’re thinking about new ways to flaunt your fashion style and make it more personal, incorporating prints into the pieces that you wear can change the game for you. One of the patterns and prints you should consider are African prints.

African prints are one of the most famous fabrics in the world as their designs highlight the history, culture and traditions of Africa. Whether you want to add these beauties to your collection to improve your fashion or you want to tell a unique story, here are some things you should know about African prints.

What Is an Ankara Fabric?

To make the beautiful African prints, a textile called Ankara fabric is used. Also known as Dutch wax, Holland wax and African wax prints, Ankara fabric is recognisable for the rich colours they come with. Aside from that, the intensity of this fabric doesn’t change at all. Even with repeated use, you’ll notice that they don’t fade, unlike other fabrics, because wax-resistant printing techniques are used.

The great thing about Ankara Fabric is that they work well when handmade, but they can also be produced in a large-scale manner.

What Is the History of the Ankara Fabric?

In 1846, there was a high demand for printed cotton. Because of this demand, Dutch entrepreneur Pieter Fentener Van Vlissingen created a machine that can deliver a method of printing suited for cloths like the Indonesian ‘batik’. So, technically, the African textile called Ankara in West Africa and Kitenge in East Africa were first produced in Indonesia.

The fabric production method is called batik, which means that the designs are first printed onto the cloth using wax before using the dye. In the African textile, you will notice a distinct crackling effect because the dyeing technique is wax resistant.

As technology advanced, this printed textile became more accessible. Nowadays, most African designers use these fabrics to produce clothing pieces that are beautiful, bright and unique with all their imperfections. With fashion technology, modern fashionistas can now use African prints through their collections and designs, contributing to the overall evolution of the Ankara fabric.

Are African Prints Merely a Fashion Statement?

African prints are not just a fashion statement—they can also be the perfect gateway to get to know African culture and heritage. According to fashion designer Belinda Compah-Keyeke, African prints are essential in telling a uniquely African story. After all, children are wrapped in it when they are born and eventually wear it at every stage of their lives.


The beautiful prints found in African textiles will consistently deliver something special—most especially in representing Africa to the world. When you wear them, wear them with pride and showcase them through your everyday style. There’s so much to appreciate in the African clothing industry, so don’t hesitate to add it to your wardrobe.

If you’re on the hunt for African clothing online, you should definitely shop at Nkiti African Clothing. We are a UK-based clothing brand that offers modern, high-quality clothing pieces that honour beautiful African ancestry. Explore our collection today and grab African print dresses, jackets, shirts and accessories to add to your wardrobe!

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