Ankara: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

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Posted: December 02, 2019

For the average Joe, fashion is just cosmetic; it is all about what is hot, in-demand and looks cool but on the flip side of it once you put in ten thousand hours and dive past a few volumes of thick books in fashion then you’ll understand that beyond the cosmetics of it, fashion follows a well-cut path of introduction-increase-peak-decline-obsolescence.

I feel like its pretty self-explanatory but that’s not all. There are still some fashion articles that will go against this fashion flow. Something that earns them the title of classics, like suits, for instance, followed the path until the point of peak beyond which they didn’t decline and found their way into everyday classics and so did jeans and lately I want to believe ankara is quickly joining the ranks of classics.

It’s hard enough tracing your way to the top from African roots, the case is similar with this form of textile, despite its existence for centuries it has not gained mainstream acknowledgement until less than two decades ago. Ankara which is what it is called in Nigeria, Baoule in CotedeVoire, Kitenge in Zambia and East Africa and Kente in Ghana. This fabric dates back to the days when foreign traders brought textiles to Africa and made prints on them, soon the culture began taking root among Africans and they started doing the patterns themselves, They made intentional forms of art on these clothes that symbolized their culture and ways of art. Of course, what stood out was the playful nature and the mix of colours that came with this African feel. A trait I will proudly stay has remained stoic to this moment when Ankara is at its bloom stage.

Worn for special occasions, royalty and gifts then, ankara has morphed into more of a daily wear, something about the aura that ankara gives off, the many colour variations that it walks the world with each more enticing than the last is by far its greatest strength and to add on to that is how dynamic it is in its use across fashion articles from headgear to scarves to suits to shorts to shoes to watch straps to seat-covers ankara continues to tell the African story,it continues fighting like the underdog fighting. The African battle.

So why does Ankara rule? 


The colour and style variations of different fabrics that you can find are abundant, the style patterns and decorations are varied and it would be very hard to find two fabrics that look alike and better still one that you will not like.

Rich Cultural Feel

It is hard to talk about vitenge and not look at it as a custodian of African heritage that it is, from the time it was used as a special occasion attire that told of royalty and opulence to now that it has been more universally accepted Ankara has continuedly told the African story and for as many as have wanted to connect to the motherland have first sought to be covered in Ankara.

Easy To Work With

Unlike leather and denim who are also contenders in the pool of classics, ankara comes with an air of ease for tailors who would like to make certain articles of cloth from it. Ideally, ankara is light unlike demin and leather that are heavier and therefore harder to sew therefore calling for the need for specialized equipment. This easily explains why Ankara has been used in making nearly every article of clothing there is including watch straps.

So what are you waiting for head out and get that Ankara suit yoh!


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