In Africa at the moment there is this upsurge on the wearing of Ankara. At one point in time, it was very fashionable to wear ?ready-made? clothes but now the Ankara material has been made into various fantastic styles. Ankara is no longer a trademark of the ?local girl/woman/man.?

In Africa today, things have turned around one hundred and eighty degrees as far as fashion is concerned. Wearing ethnic- oriented clothing is very in. To dress up in this rich fabric from Africa is now a sign of class. Made into the right style, Ankara commands the attention of everybody and the wearer steals the show at any event. This fashion trend is so taking over the fashion world and it?s not just trendy and glamorous, but also fabulous.

African prints have evolved from being a fashion statement in the continent to being a trend all over the world. It has taken a worldwide upswing with designers in various parts of the world tapping Ankara for use in their modern and luxurious apparel. It is now not only worn to regular Saturday ?owambe? parties as the Yorubas would say, but has also found a place in the closets of women across Africa and other parts of the world, and of course, the runways. It is now a popular commodity; it?s imbibed in fashion shows and seen on international celebrities.

Nigerian designers such as Lanre Da-Silva, Lisa Folawiyo of Jewel by Lisa and Zizi Cardows, amongst others have taken the indigenous fabric and transformed them into eye candy and showing them internationally. Clothing accessories are not left out; traditional fabric has been used on bracelets, shoes, clutch purses, brooches and ties and so on.

However, more outstanding is the present wave in the Fashion scene for different patterns of Ankara mixed together.  Ankara of different colours and patterns are properly mixed and matched with a complimentary fabric to expand the creativity and give the ankara fabric a boost. This was referred to as the ?calico patches? in the late 80?s and early 90s. They have found their way back into the present fashion scene. This time, they have come with an unrivalled boldness. And it seems they have come to stay.

This mixed and matched design is now a must have for every woman and even kids. When combined with plain fabrics the output is breathtaking. Every woman I know has at least one item in their closet that consists of these mixed and matched Ankara prints. They are either in the form of a dress, a blouse, short or long gown, a jacket, a clutch bag, handbag, sandals, Caftan, evening gown, skirt, corporate dress or a casual shirt, slippers, purses, wristbands, bangles, earrings, wristwatch straps and so on.It has also become an international fashion too as celebrities like Beyonce, Solange, Kim Kardashian, and Alicia Keys, among others, have been spotted looking fabulous in outfits made from mixed ankara prints. They are also being used to make Ipad bags, laptop bags, chairs, what have you. This has beaten all rules of dressing as the patches consists of different designs and colours of Ankara which are used to make one dress, shoe, skirt or bag and so on.

If you haven?t gotten any, next time you visit your designer request for item made of Ankara. It sure will look good on you.

Enakeno Oju

Enakeno is a journalist and television producer

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