For those who are new to the blog, let me say a big welcome! Glad to have you stumble across our little piece of the internet for the first time. For those who have been following us for a while - welcome back!
For those who have been following us for a while, you'll know that I'm half Zimbabwean (paternal and by birth) and half Ghanaian (maternal). So I've been traveling to Ghana for as long as I can remember because that's where my mother was born! So it's quite funny that it's only in recent times that the country has graced itself on the pages of our blog - about time right?!
Today I want to dive into fabric shopping because, in recent times, African prints have been getting a lot of attention.
So let's get into it!
Where Do We Shop For African Printed Fabric?
We usually shop for our fabrics in Makola Market - Accra’s largest open-air market which overflows with goods, people, scents and sounds. In a nutshell, it's an intense hustle and bustle environment.
When I was younger I absolutely detested venturing to the market because it's massively saturated (and I was tiny, much smaller than I am today). So imagine being clonked on the head from a woman walking about with a huge bowl (or various other packages on their heads). Or having someone scream "Agooo" because you're in their way, or trade women calling you simply to get your attention for you to purchase some goods. The men aren't immune to calling you either, in fact, they tend to be a bit more aggressive because the word "no" isn't a part of their vocabulary.
So with all of these things combined, at age 10, Makola Market just wasn't my scene.
Why Makola Market?
Not every manufacturer of African print fabric has a retail location, so the market is the best place to get a variety of prints in one location. It's also the best way to get fully immersed in the atmosphere and culture of West African life.
Also, my aunt owns and operates a fabric store in the heart of Makola so Steven and I love spending time in her store while watching eager shoppers pop in and out. Most of the time we found the most beautiful prints becuase someone came into the store, looked at it and simply did not purchase it for whatever reason - then we'd snag it after they left!
Tid Bits To Help You Pick The Right Quality African Print Fabric!
Firstly, not all brands sell their prints by the yard as you'll be accustomed to. Actually, a lot of brands sell their fabrics in bundles which range from 4-6 yards depending on the manufacturer. A tradeswoman on the roadside is more likely to give you by the yard than the wholesaler supplier.
Also, you'll quickly be able to pick up on the quality of the print by simply touching the fabric or looking around the edges of the fabric, where you'll find the manufacturer of the material. Today, Africa is home to the production of high-quality wax prints and manufacturers across Africa including Printex, Woodin, Uniwax, Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL), and GTP (Ghana Textiles Printing Company). So look out for some of those brands to ensure you're getting top-notch quality prints.
Personally, my favourite is Woodin...simply because this brand constantly aims at creating edgy and bold material. Every time I wear fabric (or clothes) that I've purchased from Woodin, it usually comes as a surprise to persons because it looks so unique yet modern.
My second choice of manufacturer is GTP prints due to the fact that their prints are also unique but very sophisticated and memorable.
Hitarget (a popular Chinese manufacturer) has become especially popular among younger consumers due to its affordability but not a favorite of mine because they are so common and manufactured in large amounts.
Regardless of whichever print you may choose, your best bet would be the one that makes you most comfortable (and fashionable)!