Ankara also known as Ankara prints, African wax prints, Holland wax or Dutch wax, is a 100% cotton fabric with vibrant patterns. It is usually colorful and very beautiful with different print designs and patterns and commonly wore by Africans.
Ankara is one of the favorite clothing materials for millions of Africans and can be said to be one fashion trend that will never go out of style. It is known all over the world for its irresistible bubbly colors and vibrant designs. However, bad Ankara fabric can spoil your whole look.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for something of such quality and beauty to catch the eye of the rest of the world. And, as we all know, when something appeals to a mass market, cut-cost copies – using cheaper and presumably quicker methods of manufacturing - are not far behind.
These inexpensive imitations, which are made using a printing process, are known in the industry as fancy fabrics, iniwax, roller print, le fancy or le légos. These fabrics are produced for mass-consumption and are not expected to last for any length of time, as opposed to true African print fabrics which, if cared for properly, can last a lifetime.
It is also very common to see the fake copy of any product that is commonly used in Africa, so it’s best to always give tips on how to identify original from fake products like we did here with this article on How to Identify Real Human Hair 21. Everyone deserves to get a value for their money.
Below are some of the most effective ways to spot good Ankara material!
Check the Cotton:
These days you can see the beautiful Ankara prints on all kinds of fabrics. Ankara clothes made of silk, jersey, satin, denim, and other materials are not at all rare. However, while these alternative fabrics can look great, the only way to get genuine Ankara is to look for 100% cotton.
Check its Resistance:
Ankara fabric with a high quality paint job displays excellent resistance. Unlike low quality materials, good Ankara won’t be scratched or damaged from accidental abrasive movements. You can test it by lightly scratching the fabric with your nail or a coin to see whether there’s a mark.
Submerge in Water:
While patterned Ankara seems like a very dense fabric, it’s actually pure cotton, which is why it needs to display the qualities of cotton – namely, being able to instantly absorb water and dry equally fast. Submerge your Ankara fabric into water to check its quality!
Be on the lookout for Plain weave:
Ankara material is famously durable, and the main reason for its durability is the plain weave. Plain weave is believed to be one of the toughest fabric types in the world. If you want your new Ankara outfit to last you for years, look for a plain weave as a sign of quality.
Make sure it is strong:
Thanks to the use of plain weave and the nature of cotton thread. Ankara fabric is famously very strong. It’s widely used not only in sewing clothes, but also in creating accessories like handbags and shoes – thanks to its ability to withstand extensive wear without tearing.
Ensure that its feels smooth and soft:
Despite all of its strength and resilience, Ankara material is one of the softest ones to touch. Perhaps, the easiest way to tell if you’re looking at high quality Ankara fabric is to simply touch it. You can do this test in just a few seconds! Give the Ankara fabric you plan to buy a pat. If the material is smooth and soft, can be easily crumpled and quickly restores its shape, it means that the Ankara you’re holding in your hands is top quality material and will be great to work with and wear!
Make sure the design is unique:
There are hardly loads of fabrics because of the method used to produce the real ones.
According to grass-fields.com 8, As African prints are produced using the wax-resist method, there are usually some slight imperfections in the dye work and pieces will be unique. Fancy fabrics, on the other hand, are more uniform in appearance and the printed patterns tend to be more precise.
Depending on the producer of wax prints, many of them – particularly those produced in Africa – may be one of a kind, whereas fancy fabrics are produced on mass for their target mass-market.
Check its Length and Size:
Original Ankara materials are always printed in 12 or 6 yards i.e. either printed in full (12yards) or half piece (6 yards). If it is printed in any yard shorter than the original length, kindly return because it is fake.
Watch out for Color:
Ankara fabrics tend to have a deeper color and the fake ones always have a copy printed on one side of the fabric, whereas the real Ankara has the designs printed on both sides and always very difficult to the back of the Ankara from the front.