West Africans ditch Dutch wax prints for Chinese ‘real-fakes’
The Conversation - 08/29/2016
Since the early 20th century, Vlisco has produced African print cloth – otherwise known as Dutch wax prints. This vibrantly coloured and intricately patterned fabric dominates West African markets and is globally recognised as quintessentially “African”.
Ironically, this iconic bold cloth was originally forged by Dutch colonial companies attempting to mechanically reproduce handmade Javanese batik cloth. When this failed to take off in Southeast Asia, Dutch traders began to sell the cloth in West African markets. The patterns were modified to fit local tastes and quickly became popular.