Love prints? Love strong, geometric designs? Love ethnic fabrics that tell a story? Yes, Yes and Yes? Then you can join in my delight to see that a favourite textile – African wax prints – is trending in the world of fashion and interiors. I have a relatively substantial pile of this fabric at home, accumulated over the years with a gleeful obsession like a kid in a candy store. The bold colours and narrative prints always grab my attention with their cheerful audacity, and I often use them in home sewing projects…be it a pencil bag, or a tote or even a few cushion covers for my son’s room.
Originally, the wax-resist dyed fabrics came from Indonesia – the famous Javanese batiks – travelling to West Africa from the 1600’s via the European traders, particularly the Dutch. They became incredibly popular – being customised and personalised to express the African heritage – the patterns and colours telling narrative tales of poetry, fables and proverbs. African wax prints carry great social, cultural and economic significance.
The real Dutch wax fabrics are produced by Vlisco a company in the Netherlands. Back in the 1800’s, the Dutch boats docked along the West African coast, in what is today Ghana, on their way to the Dutch Indies. Story goes that a Dutch trader family on their way back from Java started selling the batik fabrics to the locals who loved the colourful textiles and soon a production was started. Vlisco have been designing and producing these beautiful wax fabrics with their vibrant colours and bold designs since 1846. Their reinterpretation of the traditional African-inspired designs into a modern-day context is creating a colourful splash in the world of fashion and décor. How gorgeous are these Vlisco ad campaign images?
and now for a little local shopping – an African wax print shopping guide: bow ties | clutch | trilbies | iPad cover – all Babatunde
beautiful wax print suitcases by Maria McCloy
Our own David Tlale in conjunction with Vlisco at MB Fashion Week Autumn13.
so come back tomorrow to see another stunning fashion collection that puts African wax prints up on the pedestal.