On Being African & Ankara
When you go to a party, attend an event, host a seminar or simply just enter into the temple of God, the atmosphere is warm, colourful and bright with almost everyone clothed in a fabric of ecstasy but have you ever thought about what is behind the warmth, colourful, calming and inspiring atmosphere? How African the occasion or event or seminar seemingly is? Or what makes being an African, a thing of ecstasy?
Africans were once perceived as grotesque creations born out of poverty only, which has now become a frivolous thought as Africa is now one of the most creative-rich continent. Africans are intriguing, great storytellers, beautiful and absolutely creative. Also, the African continent has been able to adjust to the changes that took place in most of the global industries such as Science & Technology industry, Music industry, Fashion industry among several others. The nature and skin colour of most Africans are known to stand out as same with the culture. Therefore, in essence, being African comes with its own pride and beauty.
Focusing on the revolution that has taken place in the Fashion industry all over the world since the year 2010, one thing that has stood out is the impeccability and allurement of the African print otherwise known as “Ankara”.
The Ankara material is originally from ‘Dutch’ for the Indonesian textile market but is majorly linked with Africa because of the tribal-like patterns and emblem which gained more appeal in West Africa.
Although, some people have debunked the fact that Ankara is in anyway associated with the African culture, emphasis should be laid on the fact that there exists a relationship between the material and African culture most of the designs of the Ankara material, a relationship between the material and African culture can be said to exist.
Growing up as an African, I came to the fore that Ankara material or fabrics were the basis upon which its fashion industry began its revolution because it expressed the power and beauty of being an African; the flamboyant fabric is a reflection of our confidence and lively culture. Dutch of the European continent may quite be the originators but the African continent has been good at owning it, thus, being an African and Ankara is the best combination.
Is Ankara still gaining its exposure as African-Inspired, as much as Africans are gaining exposure globally? I wonder too because the African print is now used by almost any culture. Notwithstanding, being an African has come along with the journey of the “African-Inspired Dutch fabric”, seeing that a lot of Africans endeavoured to explore the hems and ends of the fabric by going to the extent of travelling all the way to the European continent to purchase it because it is worth a value.
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Bibiana Ossai © 2016.