The African continent is rich with clothing and textiles of royal capacities, from the Akwete cloth woven by the Igbo people, to the Aso Oke woven by Yoruba’s, to ‘Kanga’ produced in Tanzania, ‘Chitenge’ produced in Zambia, and Shweshwe in South Africa, all rich textiles, with glorious detailing and majestic looks when sewn into outfits for the African People. Nonetheless, ‘Ankara or African Wax Print’ which stems from Western Africa seems to be the most celebrated and most popular of all the African fabrics. Perhaps because of its eccentric patterns or it’s versatility when transformed to outfits, whatever the case, the Ankara reigns supreme in the world of clothing and textile from Africa.
In Sub-Sahara Africa the African Print textiles belong to the most popular textiles with an annual sales volume of 2.1 billion yards, with an average production cost of $2.6 billion and retail value of $4 billion (Wikipedia.com).
The Vlisco group with its brands Vlisco, Uniwax, Woodin and GTP produced 58.8 million yards (53.8 million meters), of fabric in 2011. The net sales were €225 million, or $291.65 million.
Beyond all of this, African Print or Ankara is the clear choice of the new generation of Africans, locally and across the globe. With international celebrities like Beyonce and Solange Knowles adorning themselves in the fabric to represent their unique styles, a new kind of attention is being given to this fabric globally.
Ankara continues to effectively show its ability to blend old traditional culture with neo-contemporary styles, making it the African millennial’s most treasured African Fabric.