African Print: the roots

African Print, a colorful cloth with rich patterns

 The African Print Fabric also known as ''wax fabric" or " African cloth " or ''Ankara'' is a high-quality printed cotton fabric used to make garments of great renown.

 In the Paleolithic era, the man first began to cover himself with skins of beasts and leaves or braided bark fibers. With the advent of agriculture and livestock, in Neolithic times, man has taken advantage of raw materials, wool and cotton, to weave clothes. African ancestors mastered the techniques of spinning, dyeing and cotton weaving. They used plants like indigo.

 The African print is at the center of several cultures and their expertise, like in Indonesia through the batik and java patterns, and in the Africa through traditional clothes such as the Kente (or kita) or the bogolan from which the modern prints still draw their inspiration.

 African Cloth, a cultural symbol and a messenger

 The African print is not just a piece of cloth. An African mother always has an African print cloth. It serves as a berth, an envelope and a cover, so that the view of a wax cloth refers to all African images, smells and sensations of childhood. African cloth is an integral part of the cultural heritage of all.

 In Africa, particularly in its western part, fabrics and clothing are cultural expressions, combining tradition, popular practices and urban life. The Wax fabric is thus a means of cultural expression combining us and customs, beliefs and traditions. It is offered in customary marriages as a dowry. On the other hand, it is used to strengthen the links between members of a group at ceremonies marking the life of the community, such as baptisms, weddings or funerals. Some designs are even the object of special orders linked to an event: it is not uncommon to create a cloth dedicated to a person's birthday, Independence Day or mother's day...

 

The symbolism of the wax cloth does not stop there: the way in which it is worn says a lot!

There is a proverb that says, a woman is well known but the node of her cloth.

For example, in some African countries, the woman wearing two cloths is a heart taken while the one wearing a single cloth tied to the waist is a heart to take. In the same way, having a torn cloth is a sign of physical or psychological decay.

Colors also have a meaning: White is a sign of peace, the blue of power, the yellow fertility and the red of honesty...

 As for the reasons, they carry a message that we invite you to discover in our next week's blog on theme: african print: the signature!