African Wax Double Printed Fabrics

African Wax Double Printed Fabrics

special modele african wax double printed

African Wax Double Printed Fabrics

African print fabrics – also known as kitenge, chitenge or Dutch wax – are used by tailors and designers to make modern afrocentric clothing. They can be found in the clothes of sitters in photographers’ studios and the wrappers and headscarves worn by women in many African countries.

But they do more than just symbolise Africa. British-Nigerian filmmaker Aiwan Obinyan unwraps the complex issues around the fabric’s origins and consumption in her evocative documentary Wax Print (2018).


A craze once confined to Africa, these printed cloths have gone global. From Beyonce’s kente and gelee at her baby shower to the outfits worn by fans at concerts, these fabrics are interwoven with African history, artistry and identities.

Aiwan Obinyan explores how one fabric came to symbolise a whole continent in her evocative documentary Wax Print. However, while the fabric is now omnipresent, the production and design process remains very much rooted in Africa, with several remaining textile mills struggling to compete with cheap Asian imports.

These fabrics are woven by small-scale workshops, where artisans carve designs into sponge blocks and use them to print the cloth by hand. Some of the patterns and colours can even have hidden meanings. For example, a pattern called the Nkrumah Pencil print, named after Ghana’s first president, can signify political authority. In addition, a fuchsia or lilac print can symbolize femininity and power, while the resemblance of some prints to vinyl records reflects a local nostalgia.

The coloured parts of the fabric special modele african wax double printed are shielded by a layer of wax that is applied by hand. This is a time-consuming process and the result is that each piece of fabric looks slightly different. The wax also makes the fabric resistant to water and staining, so that it can be machine washed.


For those who are used to a monochrome and neutrals wardrobe, introducing colour into their style can be daunting. However, African prints can add a much needed splash of vibrancy to your outfit.

Designers from around the world played with the vibrant hues and striking patterns of African wax print fabric known as Ankara on the runways at London’s African Fashion Week last weekend. Taiwanese designer Amy Chien Ku, of Aimeeku, mixed fuchsia and lilac Ankara motifs with colorful tweed for a romantic floral look. Her bandeau skater dresses and short A-line hemmed skirts were a favourite at the two day London Olympia showcase.

Wax print fabric is associated with Africa because of its tribal patterns and motifs. Each design and colour can symbolise a tribe, marriage or social status. Traditionally, Africans made the fabric by hand using traditional batik techniques. These were replicated in Europe by Dutch entrepreneurs who automated the manual process.

These days, most of the manufacturing of African prints is done in Asia (India and China). While this means cheaper products for consumers, it also deprives West African manufacturers of a lucrative market. Sadly, several African textile mills are closing and skilled, local workers are losing their jobs.

To help support these mills, buy your African fabrics in the US or Europe, and special modele african wax double printed try to avoid buying cheap Asian imports. Besides supporting the local economy, you’ll be helping to preserve traditional fabrics and the art of making them.


The prints that make up this fabric range from floral motifs to geometric patterns. They are coloured using a resist dyeing technique based on the Indonesian method of batik, which was adapted and mechanised by European manufacturers. These fabrics were introduced to West Africa via trade, military mobilisation and missionaries, and soon became a key part of local culture. They were referred to as Hollandais or Wax fabrics and embraced by women as a way of communicating with one another, with certain patterns being given catchy names.

Although they are often seen as being quintessentially African, there is a complexity to the design processes that go into making these fabrics. A new book, ‘African Wax Print Textiles’ by Anne Grosfilley, explores this in detail and is available now.

While the title implies that these fabrics contain a wax layer, they do not. The name comes from the process used to apply colour, which involved shielding some parts of the cloth with a coating, allowing the colours to penetrate to the underneath layers. It is a labour-intensive process, with 27 separate steps involved in the production of a single piece of cloth.

The fabrics are woven in Ghana, and the patterns are printed by hand on both sides. They are sold in lengths of 12 yards (11 m) as a “full piece” or 6 yards (5 m) as a “half piece”. The name of the producer, the name of the pattern and a registration number are printed on the selvage, protecting the integrity of the pattern and attesting to its quality.


African print fabrics are 100% cotton cloths embroidered with colourful designs and patterns. The designs are printed using melted wax before the dye is applied to add usually 2 or 3 colours. This produces the distinctive crackling effect displayed on the fabric. This type of fabric can be purchased in various colour options from physical shops and online retailers.

Traditional batik-making techniques continue to be practised in Africa. In Ghana, for example, small-scale workshops are run by entrepreneurs and create beautiful cloths by hand without any machinery involved. This allows for more flexibility and the creation of unique pieces that are not mass-produced.

These bespoke fabrics are often imitated by manufacturers in Europe and Asia. This is damaging for the African textile industry, as it threatens to take away jobs and devalue the original art form. This is why it is important to know what the differences between authentic and fake African prints are.

The patterns on these fabrics are associated with a variety of things, including tribal traditions and motifs, marriage and social status. For instance, a print called the Nkrumah pencil print is named after Ghana’s first president and symbolizes the power his pen had to sign orders used to control political opponents. Regardless of their symbolism, these fabrics are not simply fashion statements; they serve as a window into the African culture.