Often referred to as Ankara or Dutch wax, African print is the most common fabric used on the continent, especially in West Africa. Fabrics made from African prints are typically made from cotton and are printed in the Batik style. One remarkable aspect of these Ankara fabrics is that the front and back sides have the same intensity of colour. In spite of Ankara's uniqueness, many materials are pirated and sold in the market. Without being careful, one might end up buying the wrong material.
Given the vast collection of Ankara clothing available in the market, how can one decide which is truly the best? Many factors need to be considered in order to determine this. These range from the degree of smoothness in the African print to its resistance.
In that respect, I am here to make the Ankara experience easier for everyone. If you want to buy a high-quality Ankara, you need to know what makes a good Ankara.
Deepness of the colours in the African print
This is evident from the first glance at the fabric. The colours of an authentic Ankara are usually darker, as opposed to fancy Ankara prints, which are lighter. This is because Ankara prints are made with the wax-resist dyeing technique BATIK, where the dye is prevented from reaching all of the cloth, thereby creating a pattern.
African prints made from 100% cotton
Ankara fabric can be made with silk, satin, polyester, etc., but an original Ankara fabric is made of 100% cotton. This is because cotton lasts the longest and helps maintain body temperature.
You have to do the test at home after you purchase the African print already. You can perform the test in two ways. The first test is to dip it into water, squeeze it, and observe its colour. The dye may come off, indicating that it is of a lower quality.
A second method involves simply pouring a little water on the fabric. Ankara is made of 100% cotton, and therefore needs to display the properties of cotton, such as instantly absorbing water and drying quickly. Ankara prints that are of good quality will absorb water and dry quickly. If not, the opposite will occur.
Quality Ankara texture have a softer texture
When a quality Ankara should be felt with the hands, it will be soft due to the nature of its fabric. Taking this observation into account, you can tell a quality Ankara fabric by simply touching it. If the material is smooth and soft, then it is a good one. In addition, a quality Ankara fabric can also be easily crumpled and quickly returns to its original shape. This means that the Ankara is top quality and will be fantastic to wear.
Unlike low-quality materials, quality Ankara prints won't be scratched or damaged by accidental abrasive movements. At the point of purchase, you can test the resistance of Ankara fabric by scratching the fabric lightly with either a nail or a coin.
Quality of the product will certainly be evident from the result. In general, quality fabrics won't leave marks, while doctored prints will be made with poor-quality fabric and will have a mark on them.
The African print is synonymous with bright colours and lavish designs. However, because fake versions of these fabrics have appeared in the market, the good reputation of Ankara prints has been tarnished. The above guide will help you identify quality fabrics when purchasing African print fabric, regardless of whether you are purchasing it as fabric or an outfit.
The shirts and dresses featured in this post are available for purchase at our store.