African fabrics have made waves in the fashion industry due to their unique features, designs as well as material. Once overlooked by many, it has now become one of the most popular materials used in the fashion world. If you are shopping for dresses made from these fabrics or want to make your own dresses using these, it is important to know the different kinds as each material might be suitable for one specific type of dress but not for another.
Wax and Fancy
African fabrics typically come in two different types – wax print and fancy. The wax prints are the most popular but also the most expensive of the lot. These fabrics originated from Indonesia and are called "batik cloths". The ones that come from this country are often called " true wax prints ."
Many of the fabric designs were copied and taken to Europe, where Dutch companies manufactured them using roller prints. As the prints are no longer homemade, but done through machines, the price for the fabric dropped and became much more affordable.
Aside from Holland and some areas in the West Africa, wax print fabrics are also manufactured in China. For those who are interested in true wax print fabrics, then opt for those made in Indonesia as they are usually handmade and authentic. Prices differ usually depending on how complex the designs are and how big is the commissioned work. Typical customized prints includes life stories of the people who commissioned the work but there are also other products that are made in limited quantity example would be fabrics made to commemorate an event.
Fancy prints are another African fabric type but differ in that the cloths are roller printed with the feel of the wax coating on the fabric absent. They are more affordable than wax printed ones and also popular for many who prefer a smooth texture to their clothes.
Aside from wax and fancy fabrics, there are other fabrics that are also known as African fabric or Ankara. In Nigeria, "asoke" is a type of fabric that is worn during special events. "Kente" is the type of African fabric that is popular in Ghana that also has the same design and texture as the wax prints of Indonesia.
Purchasing African Fabrics
Purchasing your fabric material depends on one's preference (s). Wax prints are durable and popular; however some people find the wax material to be irritating and as such prefer the fancy prints. Cost should also be considered as true African fabrics can be costly but a wise investment later on.