By Ishola Nafisat, Aminat Ibrahim
The Ankara fabric is used to make a growing number of fashion items; bags, shoes, dresses, jewellery and countless accessories. This development has led to a change in the general perception of the Ankara fabric worldwide.This Ankara trend has impacted the West African economy in a lot of ways and thus, the Nigerian economy.However, the rise in the demand of the fabric which was not too long ago considered to be a fabric for the poor or restricted to cultural festivities due to its brightly coloured patterns and relative low cost, has led to a corresponding rise in the production of the material. Also, aside from the lower priced brands, a lot more textile factories have started producing the Ankara fabric in more appealing and sophisticated designs.Due to the ready availability of Ankara in the local market, it has become the preferred choice of fabric when making custom designed outfits.What was once considered to be a local market has grown exponentially to meet the increasing demands for the fabric worldwide. African designers and their Ankara designs are now sought out in all the echelons of the global society. The Ankara fashion industry has proven to be a veritable goldmine in these ways and many more.Though considered to be one of the cheapest fabrics in the market today, Ankara which is popularly referred to as African print, has carved its impact in the heart of the fashion world.In the past, Ankara fabric used to be considered as a fabric used for only cultural activities and also a low form of fabric meant for only the poor people who cannot afford the western clothing.Today, the African print has taken back power into its hands and it is gradually regaining its lost glory.The beautiful designs created by African designers using the Ankara fabric has made it one of the most sought-after fabrics in the world.Many years ago, the best that could be achieved with the Ankara fabric is the traditional Iro and Buba. But today, the African print is used to make a lot of fashion items which include blazers, gowns, blouses, swim suit, trousers, among others. Ankara used to be known as the most used fabric amongst Africans. However, it lost its use with the introduction of western forms of clothing to Africa.The fabric which has proven to be versatile to an extent is now recognised and used globally. It has suddenly become a must-have in the wardrobes of many people, irrespective of their origin or culture.The beautiful designs created by African designers using the Ankara fabric has made it one of the most sought-after fabrics in the world.Most celebrated persons in both Africa and Europe have also taken to the new Ankara fashion trend. They have been spotted in public rocking the African print on several occasions.Top Hollywood, music and run-way divas, such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Naomi Campbell, Agbani Darego, Kelly Rowland, Lupita Nyongo, and even Michelle Obama, have embraced the Ankara world.It is pertinent to say that the renewed interest in the use of Ankara fabric by different communities is one of the most notable fashion trends to have emerged from Africa over the past years.Therefore, it is now okay to say that the Ankara fabrics have come to stay in the fashion world and will always be in vogue.