West Africa’s Identity-Ankara “Dutch” Wax Print



Is Ankara print truly African?

No, I am not talking about the capital of Turkey but rather the wax print was popularly worn by most West Africans. One would think that with how the Ankara print is signatory to West Africa, it originated within Africa but that’s not the case. It was manufactured by the Dutch textile company in Indonesia in the nineteen-forties, but it didn’t gain much interest from the Indonesians people. They then turned their attention to West Africa where it became an instant hit and rapidly erupted throughout the continent, which ultimately led to the further production of varied patterns and prints.


 This was the evolution of the Ankara print in West Africa. The prints were worn for almost all special occasions from weddings to naming ceremonies, birthdays, funerals, inaugurations and so on.

Today it is casually worn all over Africa and has even infiltrated into the western fashion industry, with high-end couture brands featuring Ankara in their pieces.  

Now when we hear the word Ankara, we immediately think bright colours, patterns, cotton fabric but most especially Africa. With patterns and print designs telling Africa's story of culture, traditions, lifestyle, and history.



Today African print is incorporated with western fabrics to create unique and outstanding pieces. The next time you wear your Ray Darten pieces, make sure you do so with Pride.



Written By: Opeyemi Onilogbo




  • Patricia Joned

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