The Dutch, the Turks and African Fashion: 100 Dutch Waxes

Ever looked at African designers, such as the amazing Sika and became totally mesmerized by the beautiful fabrics? If you wondered where they get these fabrics from, Vlisco is your answer.
Established in 1846, Vlisco, a Netherlands based company, is the top maker of exclusive African fabrics, known as Dutch wax. They specialize in bold, colorful, regal, and modern designs.  The eye catching wax fabrics are inspired by nature through geometric patterns, and the very best thing about Vlisco is that they use 100% cotton material.  Personally, I find wax fabrics pretty hard.  In order to cut, sew and manipulate the fabric, you’d have to wash and iron it first. But the advantage of waxy materials, is that it gives it a high profile look, one very much liked by Vliscos predominantly west African clientele.

Unfortunately, Vlisco does not sell ready to wear apparel. The purpose of their ad campaigns is to show what an amazing outcome you can have from combining a bold personality with African fabrics. However, you can buy and orders yards of wonderful patterned fabric from their online store and get a sewing savvy friend to make something beautiful out of it.

Now, don’t get Vlisco confused with Ankara. Both are similar with different backgrounds.
Ankara is formerly a Dutch wax. The name Ankara came along after the Turks started making a cheaper version from the Dutch wax fabrics. Popular in Nigeria, it was known as the fabric of the poor and reserved for a lot of cultural festivities back in Nigeria past and present.  It’s hard to believe that this was considered an indigenous fabric. Today it’s a go-to fabric for designers who want to incorporate African culture in their collection. Its transformation has gone from being worn by the poor to the present where the rich and famous are paying hundreds of dollars to rock Ankara made clothing.
Two huge designers I know, that use a lot of Ankara in their collections are Maya Lake of the fabulous Boxing Kitten, whom I’ve covered on my blog, and the lovely Tiffany Amber.
If I would choose between the two, I just wouldn’t be able to, one is a hard fabric that is more suitable for high couture pieces, both are 100 % cotton, the other is lightweight and gives more wearable pieces.
One day I will order from them but for now, I’ll stick to my trusty Harlem African fabric store.

Written by Hileni






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