Wax Print: What is Ankara? … What is Ankara Fabric?

All Things Ankara Store Facebook Cover
Colorful Wax Prints Fabrics, Available at the All Things Ankara Store here here
What is ankara? 
What is ankara fabric? Isn’t it the capital of Turkey? It is the capital of Turkey and it is also the name of a popular fabric worn by many Africans. So what is ankara?

Ankara commonly known as “Ankara prints”, “African prints”,”African wax prints” “Holland wax” and “Dutch wax”, is a 100% cotton fabric with vibrant patterns. It is usually a colorful cloth and is primarily associated with Africa because of its tribal-like patterns and motifs.

It is also a very versatile fabric and many items can be made from it such as hats, earrings, blazers, and shoes to name a few. To make ankara an even more versatile fabric, fashion brands and fabric suppliers have manufactured ankara prints on fabrics like chiffon, silk, spandex for clothing such as kaftans, iro and bubas, bathing suits, sports bars, leggings & socks.
STREETS BABE Sports Bra & Leggings by Ankara Streets
Available at the All Things Ankara Store here


Remi Chiffon Bow Blouse by Yetunde Sarumi
Available at the All Things Ankara Store here
Ankara print fabrics are made through an Indonesian wax-resist dyeing technique called batik. In this technique, methods are used to “resist” the dye from reaching all the cloth, thereby creating a pattern. The lack of divergence in color intensity helps with the determination of the (front) right and (back) wrong side of the fabric.

Ankara print fabrics are usually sold per yard, 6 yards or 12 yards. The fabric company, product and registration number is printed on the selvage of the fabric, to notify people of the quality and to protect the designs from imitators. 


The wax fabric can be sorted into categories of quality due to the processes of manufacturing. The colors comply with the local preferences of the costumers. Wax prints can be named after and inspired by personalities, cities, building, sayings, occasions or well-known individuals.


Victoria Rowell’s Obama Gown at The 2009 Emmys – View Post here
Ankara print fabrics can be worn for regular occasions, but many people consider it a formal fabric and it wear it for special occasions.
All Things Ankara’s Best Dressed Women at the Exquisite Ghana Ball 2015 – View the post here
Some people wear it as “asoebi” for special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, balls etc. Asoebi is a Nigerian word and means “clothes of the family”. Family members, relatives and close friends usually dress up in similar attire for a special occasion.
Wedding: Dunnie Onasanya & Ibrahim Hasan – View post here
Even though ankara fabrics are associated with the African culture,  it’s origins are not authentically and wholly African. Dutch wax prints started out as mass-produced imitations of Indonesian batik fabric.

It was originally intended for the Indonesian market but found a more enthusiastic market in West Africa, where it became symbols of traditional and high quality fashion. From West Africa, this fabric spread to other parts of Africa and all over the world.

All Things Ankara’s Best of 2016: Top 10 Celebrity Red Carpet Moments – View post here
It’s recap time! So what is ankara? What is ankara fabric?
  • Commonly known as “African prints”,”African wax prints” “Holland wax” and “Dutch wax”,
  • 100% cotton fabric with vibrant patterns
  • Made through a wax-resist dyeing technique called batik
  • Very versatile fabric and many items can be made from it such as hats, earrings, blazers, and shoes to name a few
  • Even though it is associated with the African culture,  it’s origins are not authentically and wholly African. Dutch wax prints started out as mass-produced imitations of Indonesian batik fabric.
  • It is also the capital of Turkey!

116 thoughts on “Wax Print: What is Ankara? … What is Ankara Fabric?

  1. Pingback: Fashion Friday: Aso Ebi | femininematerz

  2. Ankara lover says:

    Where can I buy Ankara dresses ready made in Holland. Can be from Ghana Nigeria or Congo, I am desparate for some colour

  3. Geri says:

    I’m interested in purchasing some of your African fabric. How can I go about it. Please email information about it please.

    Thank you.

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  8. Trish Malone says:

    This was a very good post. I love the vibrant colors that are in ankara fabrics.
    As a designer, I love working with ankara fabrics. Stand alone they make some
    quite interesting pieces. I enjoying pairing the ankara prints with other types of
    fabrics to create even more unique garments. I look forward to doing business
    with you in the near future! Blessings

  9. Kendall says:

    Hi Nikki,
    I like how you’ve dedicated this website to Ankara and its relevance in fashion. The colors and patterns are what attracts me to it. I’ve checked out your AllThingsAnkara store and your fabric designs are great. I was curious, where you get your ideas for patterns and colors? Do you know what it’s going to look like before you create it? Thanks for taking the time to read my comment.

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  15. Claudia Aboudi says:

    Hello, do you have a store in Accra? I would like to purchase ankara chiffon and ankara swimwear fabric. Thanks

  16. Banke says:

    Hi, If I want a specially made Ankara with picture on it just like the ”Victoria Rowell Obama Dress Emmy 2009”.

    How can I get started and how much will it costs.

  17. Kamili says:

    Hi, I also want some specially made ankara. I have some ideas about what I’m looking for, can you tell me what the cost will be?

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  19. rich says:

    Hi there, I wonder if ankara has to be 100% cotton in Nigeria? Do you get them in 100% polyester Ankara fabric, at 4 yards – as opposed to the 100% cotton at 6 yards?

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  21. Carol Bee says:

    Hi Nikki,

    I love the way you have this forum and the various colors in Ankara. I am interested in accra chiffon or tie dye adire; where can I get them from?

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  23. keneilwe says:

    Hi Nikki, I would like to buy ankara materials in bulk from you…can u send me the stock prices. I’m in South Africa
    I sent an e-mail and no reply

  24. Jay Jorgenson says:

    Before I read this article, I had no idea what ankara print was. Now that I know I can think of this shirt my sister had growing up that was ankara print. Everyone loved that shirt and always asked her where she got it!

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  26. Vanessa says:

    Do you have any ideas on where the word ‘Ankara’ originates from? Is it from an African, Dutch or Indonesian language?

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  28. Lorenzo jones says:

    Hi do you sale these clothes and materials at wholesale would like to put yiur clothing and materials in my store. Store In the US. If there is a way for us link up and make this happen. Please contact me. [email protected]

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  30. Loretta says:

    Very informative piece. I would love to use this post/pictures to teach my forth grade students about Ankara. Can you kindly give me permission to do so?

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  33. Esther Cole says:

    Where can I get someone to create me a custom Ankara pattern (artwork). Where the artwork will be released to me for my own personal use.

    And if ankara is handmade how is it reprinted to the exact same pattern?

    I guess my question is. if I owned a wax pattern how would I be able to use the same pattern on fabric when the original one runs out?

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  39. jude says:

    We are one of the highest exporters of fabrics in China. Feel free to contact me for ankara and lace fabris 100% cotton and polyster. all are available. +8618258206579 Jude

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  52. shafiq says:

    Dear All,
    As I can see from your website that you are a big company dealing WAX PRINT FABRICS;

    Our company can provide you any type of Cotton Greige Fabric or even Wax printed Fabrics catering to your needs.all kind of other fabrics
    We are a big supplier of such fabrics to Chinese & African market and exporting millions of meters since past many years.

    Relating to specific needs of Wax Print related qualities, we can offer you following qualities in 100% Cotton (Guaranteed)


  53. George says:

    Hi, I am George from Kenya and I would like to get into the export business for this materials into Kenya. Basically I want to make it sell here, and that calls for your advice since you have the insight on which material can sell well.

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  59. Ariel Garcia says:

    Hi! Wonderful article! Since you seem to be the expert, do you know if ankara prints would be safe for babies to sleep on, considering the dyes used? I’m thinking of pillow cases or baby blankets.

  60. Joanna Roylance says:

    The CDC is looking for people to make homemade masks for the Coronavirus. They are desperate for them.
    Can you possibly donate any material for these masks. It was on the news tonight. On Facebook, many are starting to make them. There is a pattern and you need a sewing machine naturally.
    Thanks for listening
    Joanna Roylance. 941-371-0092. Sarasota, Florida 34232.

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