This wax print dress was produced as a promotional item by ABC textiles in the 1990s. Wax print, also called Dutch wax or Ankara, has a history that is tied up with colonialism. Originally inspired by Javanese batik designs from Dutch colonies in Indonesia, Dutch manufacturers began mass producing printed textiles which mimicked the look of wax resist batik in the late 19th century. Around the same time, West African soldiers who had been recruited to serve in the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army returned from Indonesia and introduced batik prints to West Africa. The Dutch manufacturers were able to sell their wax print fabrics to the new market in West Africa. They were so popular that other European textile manufacturers began producing wax print designs to meet demand. ABC is an example of such a company, producing wax print in Manchester from 1908 to 2005 when all production moved to Ghana. Collected as part of the Fashioning Africa project.
Creator: ABC Textiles
Place: Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom, Europe