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African Wax Prints and Fabric Sourcing in Ghana

Here at Afro Disiak, we source all our prints from the wholesale market places of Accra as the market tends to offer a wide variety of locally designed and manufactured textiles. There are rows upon rows of fabric for us to choose from - which can be quite overwhelming, but, there is absolutely nothing more rewarding than shifting through each row until we find "the perfect one".


When I was younger, the market places such as Makola were never my thing. I always found the hustle and bustle to be exceedingly overwhelming. But, as I grew older, I started to crave the exciting nature that the markets exude. You see, the energy at Makola Market is unlike anything I've ever experienced from bustling bodies to the sounds of constant negotiation and friendly chatter - it is awe evoking. I'm fortunate enough to have a family member who owns a fabric store in the heart of Makola so I am usually welcomed for hours on end to not only pursue the fabrics at my leisure but to also watch others come in and choose their special fabrics. Many times I've watched excited patrons find exciting prints that I didn't even see buried underneath rows of fabrics!


While sitting at the fabric shop, we also learned a lot about the history of African wax prints that we'd love to share with you!


The History

Even though modern day wax prints are associated with Africa, the first wax prints arrived on the Gold Coast (modern day Ghana) from the Netherlands where they later became the epitome of style and symbols of status.


Fun Fact: Dutch wax prints started out as mass-produced imitations of Indonesian batik fabric

Africa’s fight for independence in the 1960s then led to wax prints being made locally and gave them new meanings and symbolism. Over time, the prints became more African-inspired, and African-owned by the mid-twentieth century. Today, Africa is home to the production of high quality wax prints. Manufacturers across Africa include Printex, Woodin, Uniwax, Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL), and GTP (Ghana Textiles Printing Company); the latter three being part a part of the Vlisco Group. My personal favourite is Woodin as I've been a fan of the brand since I was 10 years old as I always found their prints to be quite modern, bold and edgy - that's 2 decades of brand loyalty!

Even though ankara fabrics are associated with the African culture, it’s origins are not authentically and wholly African. Therefore neither are real nor fake. Our choice of fabric relies heavily on the intended use. Hitarget (a popular Chinese manufacturer) has become especially popular among younger consumers due to its affordability and high-quality thread count, colour palette, and design precision. Therefore, our headwraps are predominately made from such. On the other hand, our table runners, table mats and napkins are made from textiles which are printed in Africa as it is more durable than its competitor.



Current Market

Sadly, Chinese counterfeits are taking over the market as they are able to release their knockoffs within a matter of weeks with discounted prices. Therefore, with the current economic climate, this puts African manufacturers under substantial pressure.


Our Stance

Even though ankara fabrics are associated with the African culture, it’s origins are not authentically and wholly African. Therefore neither are real nor fake. Our choice of fabric relies heavily on the intended use. Hitarget (a popular Chinese manufacturer) has become especially popular among younger consumers due to its affordability and high-quality thread count, colour palette, and design precision. Therefore, our headwraps and turbanettes are predominately made from such. On the other hand, our table runners, table mats and napkins and clothing line are made from textiles which are printed in Africa as it is more durable than its competitor.

©2021 by Bernadette Chikowore
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