African Wax

You may have seen in the 'About Us' section that our journey began using African Wax. Our sewing tutor introduced us to this fabric and we fell in love with the bold, bright colours and unique designs, if you scroll through our Instagram page you will see lots of our lovely customers wearing the clothes we made using this incredible fabric so here is some more information on the heritage of the fabric.

Our Journey July 2019 - June 2020 began using 100% African Wax. Otherwise known as Dutch Wax or Ankara. The heritage of this textile is an interesting and complex one and there are many different accounts on how it evolved to what you see on this website today…

 

There is evidence dating back over 2000 years of early examples of waxed fabric (otherwise known as Batik) in the Far East, Middle East, Central Asia and India. Indonesia, particularly the island of Java is where Batik reached is greatest peak of accomplishment. Batik is created by pouring melted beeswax onto cotton. The cotton is then soaked in dye. Where the wax rejects the dye it creates a crackling effect and reveals beautiful patterns. This is then repeated for each colour.

 

African culture has played a huge part in the popularity of Batik. It was first discovered by African men and women during the Dutch Colonisation of Indonesia in the 19th Century. The bright, bold colours and patterns were embraced by African people, particularly West Africa.

 

In the 1820’s Indonesian craftsmen were recruited to several factories in Holland to recreate Batik techniques. These manufacturers intended to sell the imitation Batik to Indonesia as cheaper alternatives, but they were not well received. The African market had a different opinion, in particular West Africa where the manufacturing imperfections were embraced and seen as individual and unique. This led to the development of wax printing factories across West Africa. New designs were created to celebrate African culture with each bold, beautiful design having its own individual meaning, cultural representation and status. The fabric is now most commonly known as Ankara or African Wax. Today this fabric is mostly produced in Africa, China and Holland.

 

We sourced the majority of our fabric from a family run business in Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria.

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