Ankara is a bold print that has been identified with Africans for such a long time, that it has become increasingly difficult to separate it from the African culture. Unknown to most, the history of ankara can be traced back to the Dutch, who created the ankara print as a cheap imitation of Indonesian batik fabric sometime in the 19th Century.

Ankara is also the capital of Turkey (not Instabul as most people think).

The association of ankara as an African print can be attributed to the fact that it has become ubiquitous in African fashion over time, as Africans tend to gravitate towards its beautiful and tribal-like prints and patterns. The overflow of ankara in Nigeria is so significant, that it has become the ‘asoebi’ choice fabric at most functions; from birthdays to burial ceremonies, to engagements and weddings alike.

Designers such as Lisa Folawiyo and Lanre Dasilva Ajayi, and non-African designer Marni  have incorporated ankara into their designs visibly over the years. Stella MaCartney featured ankara in her Spring/Summer 2018 ready-to-wear collection at Paris Fashion Week, however, she faced much backlash; most likely because the outfits were highly overpriced and rather unflattering. The trick to the wearability of ankara regularly, is to shy away from heavy and ostentatious designs, and go for more fun, modern and stylish cuts, patterns and designs.

This outfit is feminine, playful and pretty as is evident from the print, cut and layered ruffles style. Ruffles happen to be one of those quintessential details that are ultra feminine and super glam, hence always popular in fashion, one way or another. Done strategically, ruffles can switch up an item from being girly, to being edgy.

In all honesty, it is difficult to say whether ankara is or isn’t an African heritage, because over time, it has become one of the prototypical fabrics in African fashion and it is definitely here to stay. As a result, in years to come, it just might be forgotten knowledge that ankara did not originate from Africa, and it will be categorized exclusively as an African print with no European ties by generations to come.


‘Fashion is art and culture and history and everything I love combined.’

Blair Waldorf 


Photography by @famous_isaacs

Extra edits by me @mignolly

Hair by @kharis_beauty

Thanks for reading my post guys 🙂

Love, Mignolly



Ankara dress and choker: Custom Made by @oluchilkpemba

Scarf: tied as a bow

Heels: Calvin Klein

1 Comment


    […] This ankara purse is a souvenir from an event my mum attended a few months ago. (I love party goodies that are useful and relevant in my daily life).  It’s no secret that ankara has made a huge impact in African fashion over the years and I have a post on that. See […]


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