The high and rise of ankara

Ankara is an African print, popularly known as Ankara in Nigeria. The print gained its popularity in global fashion in 2010 but it has been in existence for many years. Ankara was originally manufactured by the Dutch for the Indonesian textile market, however, the prints gained significantly more interest in West African countries because of the tribal-like patterns. Ankara is formerly known as Dutch wax print by African Print Dutch Company Vlisco.

Ankara fabric


Ankara first started as wax cotton but has since expanded into Lycra and Silk. Ankara print fabrics are made through an Indonesian wax-resist dyeing technique called batik. In this technique, methods are used to “resist” the dye from reaching the entire cloth, thereby creating a pattern. The lack of separation in colour intensity helps with the determination of the front and back side of the fabric.
It is also a very versatile fabric and many items can be made from it such as; hats, earrings, blazers, and shoes to mention a few. To make Ankara an even more versatile fabric, fashion brands and fabric suppliers have manufactured Ankara prints on fabrics like chiffon, silk, spandex for clothing such as Kaftans, Iro and Bubas, bathing suits, sports bras, leggings & socks.
These fabrics are mostly designed to mirror various African cultures and traditions. Many of the designs found on the fabrics portray events or adages. Others also depict highly respected people.

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How to identify the original Ankara fabric

  1. Ankara fabrics have a soft feel despite their durability and high resistance. Before buying, give your desired fabric choice a pat. If the feel is soft, then you’re good to go. Moreover, take a small portion of your favourite print’s edge, then rumple with your hands. If it restores its shape in split seconds, congratulations! Your slay is here to stay.
    Fake Ankara materials always wash off its color when dipped into the water. So to test this, put a little water on your palm and just rub it on the body of the material. If it wears off, then it isn’t original
  2. An authentic ankara print is always smoother, if it is coarse. It is most likely fake.
  3. For a super original Ankara fabric; It is always very difficult to identify the back of the Ankara from the front because they both look very alike.
  4. Scratching the fabric lightly with a coin reveals its authenticity. If a mark or a sign that someone touched it appears, it’s not genuine. Original Ankara fabrics possess excellent resistance. Perhaps you’re unable to access a coin, use your finger-nail.
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