Back to Blog

The difference between wax prints and other African print fabrics

06/14/2009 05:41

I just found out that something that I have told people about African print fabrics is wrong. When I started working with African fabric, I was told by a fabric store owner that there are two basic types of African print fabrics: wax prints and gold prints. A customer asked me about African wax prints on the phone, and I wasn't sure about my answer. So I called a couple of people I knew, to see if there were other types of African print fabrics besides these two. The people I called were not people with any formal education about this; but they had both been selling Africa print fabrics exclusively for more than 10 years. Both of these people told me that I was right; but it didn't sound like they really knew. 

Here's the answer I got from people posting on the internet. There are at least three different types of African print fabrics: wax prints, gold prints, and fancy prints. True wax prints are the most expensive. These were originally made in Indonesia, and were called batik cloth. These were taken to Europe where a method was devised to make these in a factory without being totally hand made. Wax prints that you find now are almost all roller printed. These are still made in Holland (by two main companies: Vlisco BV in Helmond) and in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Ghana. Most of the wax print fabric is being made now in China however. Fancy prints are a collection of roller printed cloth of which do not have the feel of colors being separated by the wax. The wax prints often have the look and feel of a wax coating on the surface of the fabric. Fancy prints do not have this same feel. I wasn't able to find a lot of information on this easily; and this is different from what some other knowledgeable people have told me. So I don't yet trust this research 100%. If you know something different, I hope you will leave a comment to help clear things up. If you'd like to see a large selection of African fabrics, including wax print fabrics, just check out the links below!

  Click here to find out HOW TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS selling African products!