African wax fabric

Dutch wax fabric also known as African wax fabric are omnipresent and common materials for clothing in Africa, especially West Africa. They are industrially produced, colorful cotton cloths with batik printing.[1] One feature of these materials is the lack of difference in the color intensity of front and back side. The wax fabric can be sorted into categories of quality due to the processes of manufacturing.

Normally, the fabrics are sold in 12 yards as “full piece” or 6 yards as “half piece”. The colors comply with the local preferences of the customers. Mainly clothing for celebrations is made out of these.

The wax fabric are part of a nonverbal way of communication among African women, and hereby they carry their message out into the world. Some wax fabric can be named after personalities, cities, building, sayings or occasions. The producer, name of the product and registration number of the design is printed on the selvage, protecting the design and allowing reading the quality of the fabric. The wax fabrics constitute capital goods for the African women. Therefore, they are collected depending on the financial possibilities.

The design of the wax fabric fabrics already has an influence on the international world of fashion and lifestyle. They are an inspirational source for designers and companies.

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