ANKARA: THE CONTROVERSIAL TEXTILE

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

Ankara also known as “Real Dutch Wax” originates from the European replication of batiks from the far east during the early 19th century. Batiks are a printed fabric with designs on both sides of the cloth. Initially, marketed to the Dutch-East Indies as “Java prints,” the Ankara fabric has a crossbred cultural background tat finds its historical roots in present-day Indonesia. It has been theorized that West African men conscripted to the Dutch army bought batik fabrics home. The European Companies such as Vlisco, HKM, and ABC Wax began to tailor designs according to African tastes and demands that included colorful cloths and tribal patterns/ motifs. Currently, imitation wax fabrics are made locally and also imported from Asia, both ubiquitously exemplify African fashion. However, a question of Ankara fabrics African authenticity is a subject of much debate. What do you think?