African Prints

Shanae Wright

Posted on octubre 12 2019

What is Ankara Wax?


An interesting fact about African wax prints is that it was first produced in Indonesia. It was brought to West Africa by soldiers who were serving in Indonesia in the 1800s. The prints were being imported to West Africa, which later caught the eye of European traders. They began to imitate the fabrics using modern machinery, this was predominantly done by the Dutch people and to date, they are one of the main producers of the fabric.


African wax prints are called differently in many different places; In West Africa, it is called “Ankara”, in East Africa, it is called “Kitenge” and is also known as Dutch wax prints in among European nations. Wherever you are and whatever you call them you cannot deny the radiant beauty of African wax prints. They are very common in Africa and are worn for many special occasions, or simply just for everyday wears. It is used to make clothes such as; dresses, pants, shirts, blouse, and skirts just to name a few. It is also used to make handmade items such as; necklaces, shoes, fans, bags, and purses.



Method of producing African prints


The method of production is made with batik inspired printing; the clots are made from 100% cotton and are usually made in colourful patterns. African wax print can be sorted into categories based on the manufacturing processes.




African printed clothes are a good way to stand out and look unique among your pairs; it is also a good way for people with African lineage to keep in touch with the African culture. It also benefits local West African artisan, crafters and designs as it helps them to earn from our purchases.




African wax prints are also called “Tribal Prints”, because of their patterns and motifs. The designs are sometimes a reflection of local African tradition and symbols, primarily social status, tribes, and marriage. It is often worn by people and is a form of non-verbal communication. African prints are sometimes named after many different things. Such as; buildings, cities, towns, nature and even personalities


Current Market


The Wax industry is a booming industry and there is a lot of money to be made. Despite the fact that it is a booming industry, the majority of the revenue isn’t going into the African economy. This is happening because of the Chinese imports and it’s hard for local wax suppliers to compete with their cheap prices. Owning to this several African mills have closed and are considering closing, leading to the loss of income. However, Chinese product quality still cannot match that of the one that is produced in Africa. So, it is usually sought for when there is a special event.


Also due to the influx of Chinese companies producing African prints for cheaper prices, mediocrity has created a surge for customers in the chase to acquire high quality affordable African prints straight from the African source, this has led the Home-based Ankara prints manufacturers to reduce how much they produce the indigenous prints for commercial sales as they now selectively produce only for private occasions such as weddings, funerals, chieftaincy ordinations, and other related occasions. For this reason only a few retailers have come to the understanding that to get these African prints from the African soil, one needs to make production requests like the couple would do for their wedding guests, or the deceased family would do for them funeral guests, still, this doesn’t solve the problem as the foreign-produced prints get more publicity than the indigenously produced prints. This is why retailers such as DuroShan.APT has taken it upon themselves to help make available these indigenous African prints just the way the customers want them to be.


Lastly, I would like to emphasize the importance of businesses such as DuroShan.APT we are on a mission to support and build Africa; Hence, sourcing quality products from local artisans, crafters, and designers. They are based in African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, etc and bringing these products to your doorstep anywhere in the world. Duroshan.APT has collected African prints samples from everywhere that African prints are produced on the lithosphere and have helped customers in solving their shopping problems, coupled with customers feedback over the years we have been able to narrow our supplies to be specific and from African soil, and soon would create a training platform to help new and existing retailers understand the need to buy from Africa to help grow Africa and fully standardize the attainable quality of African prints.




"Wax prints, like Vlisco, are still making believe that they are African". Wax prints, like Vlisco, are still making believe that they are African. Retrieved 2019-06-21.


Magie., Relph, (2010). African wax print: a textile journey. Irwin, Robert, 1952-. Meltham: Published by Words and Pixels for the African Fabric Shop. p. 32.  Retrieved 2019-06-21


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