Wax print fabric shop

The history of African batik fabrics initiates with importing from Indonesia textiles into Africa in the 1800s by West African and European traders, especially the Dutch. In fact, the batik was made to introduce to Europe, but its exotic patterns which were designed from African culture, tradition and imageries were not in the favour of European’s. A number of patterns were printed of indigenous plants, flowers, animals, or proverbs and therefore these were enormously popular in local markets, and also now, became a symbol of “traditional” African culture, particularly western Africa (Picton 2001, p.69).


Yinka Shonibare “How Does a Girl Like You, Get to Be a Girl Like You?”(1995)

British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare who is one of the most successful contemporary artists over the past decade uses African prints for his installation artwork. His outstanding use of batik, a wax printed cotton fabric has been appreciating audiences. In his installation projects that reveal his enthusiasm for art history, literature, and attitude, Shonibare offers a critical journey of Western civilization and its achievements and failures.


Vlisco, founded in 1846, The company offers different prints and designs.

African fabric is diverse and energetic and already has an influences on contemporary fashion. Revealing the influential creative strength and impact of progressing styles, contemporary African fashion sets Africa at the connection of world cultures and globalized identities.

Nowadays, the African print is worldwide accepted and a number of creative designers and fashion brands are influenced by the African style.

luxury brand, Burberry uses many African Style Prints on the Burberry Spring Collection for 2012 in London Fashion Week. Christopher, a Burberry designer, did a phenomenal job using African fabric to create his designs.


Burberry Uses African Style Prints for Spring 2012, in London Fashion Week

In addition, an American singer and designer, Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. used African-inspired prints in 2012 spring/summer collection. An icon in music and fashion, Gwen Stefani is known to make bold statements in African prints at events worldwide.

Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and USA’s First Lady Michelle Obama also wear African Fashion. Thus, African influence in the contemporary fashion is thriving and it will continue to succeed on the fashion industry.

gs1      gs2

Gwen Stefani wearing African Prints at the New York Fashion Week

rihanna        beyonce

   Rihanna in African Print             Beyoncé looking chic on African Print


Lady Gaga in African clothes


USA First Lady Michelle Obama In gorgeous African Prints


Cheddie J, 2000, A Note: Yinka Shonibare: Dress Tells the Woman’s Story, Fashion Theory, vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 349–358.

Picton J, 2001, Yinka Shonibare: Undressing Ethnicity, African Arts, vol. 34, no.3, pp. 66-73.

Afrimigrant, 2014, Perplexing origin of African Print and its Complexities, New Jersey, USA, viewed 11 August 2015, <>

This Day Live, 2015, Celebrating African Fashion, Lagos, Nigeria, viewed 7 August 2015,<>

Obsessed, 2014, HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITIES ROCKING AFRICAN “Ankara” PRINTS, viewed 5 August 2015,<>

African Fashion Week, 2015, New York, Milano, London, Paris, viewed 4 August 2015,<>