African Prints Clothing: The Beginnings of African Print Fabric
Are you a big fan of African prints clothing?
African print fabric has always been a favorite in the world of fashion for a good reason. Its vibrant colors and interesting prints make them more and more in demand right now.
But how did the African print fabric come to fruition, then?
Read on below to learn more about the African print fabric:
African Print Fabric History
African fabric’s origin dates back to the time when the ancient Egyptians started to cultivate flax and weave this into linen. Cotton was later on used more as clothing textile.
Different African regions are now known for specific designs and trying to highlight all of them might not be enough in a single post. However, some are worthy to mention.
Mud-cloth fabric, for example, is the hand-woven fabric that hails from Mali, while the Kente African prints originated in Ghana.
In the past, the most expensive of these Kente prints were crafted with the precious metals woven into the cloth with the royalty being the only ones who can wear them.
Meanwhile, tree bark was used for making the fabric from Cameroon that was used to make clothing and accessories.
Is Africa the Origin of African Fabric?
Well, the answer to this question may be a bit complicated.
In Indonesia, locals were originally using the basic method of wax-resist dyeing to form batik. During the mid-19th century, West African men were attracted to handmade textiles. The Dutch enlisted these men to increase their army in Indonesia.
Some of these men were mercenaries and slaves, and they brought back these textiles to their respective home countries. The batik fabric then rose to popularity among most West Africans.
Meanwhile, the Europeans were starting to come up with ways to create their own unique versions of batik. Their goal was to fill the Indonesian market with batik print but this time, with cheaper prices.
They were able to reach their objective when the 19th century came to an end and a Belgian printer came up with a method for resin application to both sides of cotton cloth.
Since there were some imperfections in the machine-made fabric, Indonesian buyers rejected it. But these imperfections weren’t much of a big deal among West Africans, and as a result, they decided to adopt the fabric as their own.
While there are now fabrics made in West Africa as well as Chinese-made ones that are much cheaper, most West African people still put a premium on the ones made in Europe.
They continue to buy it for their suits and dresses, as a sign of status and as a form of a gift. Some also add the fabrics to the bride wealth of a woman.
The Bottom Line
Indeed, African prints clothing has seen a very interesting history. But no matter where it originated or how it came to be, one thing remains the same: African prints clothing is a beautiful addition to any wardrobe, whether for adults or even for the kids!