Thanks for visiting and welcome to this blog on African fabrics. Please join us as we wade into the colourful world of African Fabrics. The purpose of this blog is to provide bite sized information on African Fabrics, looking at the history, methods of production, design and evolution over the years. I hope you will continue with us in this fascinating journey!

African Fabrics and Textiles

Saturday, 10 April 2010

A short history of African Wax Print Fabrics

African wax print fabrics have many influences. Indeed, its history starts when batik wax-resist textiles were first imported into Africa from Indonesia in the 1800's through West African soldiers that served in Indonesia from early to just beyond the mid 1800's. These batik wax resist fabrics were also brought into Africa by European traders, mainly the Dutch.

Attempts were initially made to introduce the batiks to Europe, but these efforts were not successful. Largely it seems, because they were considered very exotic in design content. They were however extremely popular in West African markets. The fabrics were customised and designed to reflect local African tradition, culture and symbolisms. Many of the designs found on fabrics depict events, proverbs, persons of importance or local flora and fauna.

African wax print fabrics are made by printing the patterns in wax on the cloth and then dyeing the fabric. The fabric, which is 100% cotton soaks up the dye, excluding the portions whee the dye was applied. The wax is broken off by machine. Patterns are then printed on the fabric again with other colours. The number of times patterns are printed on the fabric again depends on the design. New ideas and more modern techniques of production mean scores of designs are produced every year by makers of these fabrics.

African print fabrics are mostly found in Core d' Ivoive, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria. They can also be found in many Central and Eastern African countries.
There use outside of Africa is now also on the increase.

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