Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Once upon a time, my father came back from the village bearing gifts of African prints I termed Pattern Abominations. Not only did they look like what old people wore, they had the dullest colours the colour wheel could produce- talk about a deliberate threat to my youthfulness…lol. I eventually tailored the dress in the most age appropriate style I could fine. In my opinion, it still did nothing to uplift the ancient-ness of the fabric. So, that was a good 9 years ago, what has change between then and now? Is it me or are these once thought dull fabrics now becoming the most sort after pieces for making revolutionary fashion statements both in Africa and beyond her boards?
In Nigeria, we have the weirdest names for some African prints; most famous, ‘Back of Fish’, Jumping Horse’, ‘Scattered keys’, ‘Moon and Star’, ‘Oga Madam’, ‘Star’, ‘ABC’, ‘One thousand Blocks’, ‘Television’, ‘Palm kernel’, to name a few. My mother and 99.9% of the women I knew as a child and till date have this emblems of motherhood (or so I thought they were) I had a love-hate affair with the back of fish and Jumping Horse material, but now, my mind is literary bursting with what I could do with this once thought old print-the endless possibilities.
 (from let) Jumping Horse, One thousand Blocks, Star

These materials and more not necessarily named have so much potential in the hands of the right fairy godmother or father. Creativity now goes beyond what the material is suited for to how the patterns can be manipulate to suite the style (even if it means cut out).


The Ankara print has gained so much revolutionary fame, a far cry from the stereotypical  Iro and Buba (Traditional wrapper and Blouse) and safe skirt and blouse. Ankara prints are so divers they are incorporated in virtually every and any style of fashion from couture to sports wears, swim wear, casuals, corporate for both genders.
Though the concept of an Ankara wedding dress is still an unsettled trend, some brides have dared to take the controversial concept to the aisle. Its emergence as Africa’s next corporate sweetheart is no new take as the renaissance of the fabric has fitted unapologetically with the office appropriate silhouettes. 
Couple and her Bridesmaids in Ankara inspired outfits

Penciled skirts, jackets, gowns, pants and trousers in the African print makes the fabric earn more prestige than once allotted to it. I remember when my dad, again gave me 6 yards of the spectacular fabric and put it plain that I would need tailor something that was more traditional rather than the sheer Mutilation we put out in the name of fashion. His use of the mutilation in a fabric related speech was both hilarious and interesting. But then I would rather say it is a Beautiful mutilation (if such exist….lol)


The perfectly tailored Jacket...#eyecandy 

...and it gets even more interesting...


It is no surprise that designers both local and international are exploring the strength and diversity of the African prints. Christe Brow, Stella Jean, Rose Palhares among a whole sea of designers play creatively with the Ankara fabric to fit into the fast revolving fashion industry. Whether it’s in matching prints or mix and match, cuts outs or patterns and plain mix, the Ankara prints is indubitably exceptional

 Corporate ideas anyone?


 Care for something more audacious? Dear Ankara would you like to