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Origin of Ankara By Seun Elegushi


Ankara is a fashion closely related to the West Africans, especially the Yorubas.

 However, not everyone knows the secret of Ankara and how it came to be.

 In this article, I will be discussing the Origin of Ankara


Ankara, is also known as African fabric. This fabric has become the epitome of our ‘Africanness’ but it has a diverse and complex history. The fabric started off as an imitation of the Indonesian batik locally produced in Java. Through colonization by the Europeans and Dutch, the Fabric spread through several continents.  After being colonized by the Dutch, the Javanese Batik was introduced to Holland and other parts of Europe but it did not gain popularity. This triggered textile industrialization as the Van Vlissingers established a company in 1894 that mass-produced these fabrics in Europe. They are now known as today’s Vlisco brand.


Until the 1960s, most wax sold in Africa were made in Europe. After colonization, things changed. Ghana had several high print wax manufacturing companies, including Woodin- a subsidiary of Holland’s Vlisco; and ATL a subsidiary of Manchester-based ABC textiles. Africa is yet to own a textile manufacturing company with no links to our European counterparts.



Ankara can be said to be an African fabric that took inspiration from the native Indonesian designs


There are various views on how the fabric entered the African market. Some are of the opinion that Dutch freighters on their ways to Indonesia from Europe dropped these textiles at different African ports.  


With the origin of Ankara we can say that we as Africans have done well in adopting and developing the native Indonesian designs into our own African designs as Ankara.


Thank you for reading.

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