HOUSTON – Strategically displayed at conspicuous sections of Monghuls Restaurant and lounge in Houston were an exclusive collection of Ankara fabrics and other unique products produced by adapting Ankara. The event which was hosted by Sade Adesuyi of QBEESCLOSET was a great forum to shop and network with other creative designers. The 2011 Ankara unveiling attracted observers and specially invited guests whom were entertained in a classy atmosphere while sipping on cocktails and bites of hors d’ oeuvres.
The Ankara fabric, formerly referred to as “Dutch Wax” from Holland, only became known as “Ankara” when the Turks started making cheaper versions. Interestingly, Nigeria, being such a vast and insatiable market, encouraged the birth and growth of fabric traders. In the early 60’s, Late Mrs. H.I.D Awolowo was amongst the first to import and sell lace fabrics. The Okunowo brothers were also amongst the primary importers of Damask in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Trading companies such as PZ, UAC and Zabadne were also primary importers of Dutch Wax and later Ankara in the 70’s.
The popularity of the light weight and colorful nature of the Ankara fabric encouraged the growth of local manufacturers in Nigeria. The demand for Ankara amongst West African countries led to production acceleration. Ultimately, unfair trading and smuggling by individuals and companies forced the suffocation of local production.
Ankara was the western rival to “Adire” but because the dye was faster and did not stain as much, locals abandoned Adire for the more colorful Ankara.
Ankara used to be associated with the poor but has now been magically transformed into the fabric of choice for the rich and famous who engage witty designers to conjure eye catchy outfits.
By Chibuzor Okonta and Toyin Obilana for Trendy Africa USA