The Rise And Rise Of The Ankara Fabric

At this point, there is no fashionista who would be asking the question “What is Ankara?”

This beautifully African wax print shares it’s name with the capital of Turkey and has revolutionized the fashion industry worldwide.

Ankara commonly known as “African prints”, “African wax prints” “Holland wax” and “Dutch wax”, is a 100% cotton fabric with vibrant patterns. It is usually a colourful cloth and is primarily associated with Africa because of its tribal-like patterns and motifs.


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.

ankaraAnkara 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.

ankaraThe wax fabric can be sorted into categories of quality due to the processes of manufacturing. The colors comply with the local preferences of the costumers. Wax prints can be named after and inspired by personalities, cities, building, sayings, occasions or well-known individuals.

Super models and celebrities all over the world have adopted the Ankara looks formally for events and red carpet occasions. A number of celebrities have been spotted in Ankara ensembles on red carpets globally. To many, the Ankara fabric has become a wardrobe staple already.

According the article Fashion Reborn: Blends of African outfits from Ankara, by fibre2fashion “Destiny of the ‘once before’ cheap Ankara fabrics, have undergone a magical transformation. Elegant creativity of the designers have made it a preferred choice of the rich and famous.”

ankara shoes

The African print fabric has metamorphosed from it’s once cultural attire to a glamorous wardrobe must-have and right now the spotlight is on Africa.



The Ankara fabric is one that is very versatile and constantly evolving to meet today’s fashion fads. Hence, one may go as far as saying that the fabric and the trend have come to stay on the global fashion market.

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