What is African Wax Print Fabric?

What is African Wax Print Fabric?

The term ‘African wax print’ is a term of art used to identify a category of textiles in vibrant colours which are printed by machine using wax resins and dyes so that they have a batik-like effect on both sides of the fabric. The method is called wax-resist dying because the wax ‘resists’ the dye from penetrating the entire cloth.  This is how the patterns are made.  African Print Fabric has several names across Africa, including Abada, Ankara, Real Wax, Superwax, Veritable Java Print, Wax Hollandais, Uniwax, Ukpo, Chitenge, Genuine Amsterdam, Vlisco and African Printed Textiles.  Some of these are brand names and others the names of manufacturers.  These fabrics have a somewhat glossy, stiff, waxy finish. The patterns can represent proverbs, poems and traditional African fables while the colours can represent social standing, age, tribal orientation and marital status.
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1 comment

I would love to know more, this is a huge subject that l know only a little about.

Christina Kinsey

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