It seems the batik, or wax-print, fabrics that are so indispensable to West African traditional dress are not, by and large, actually from Africa. The most coveted, the ones that set the trends, are designed and manufactured in the Netherlands. The Dutch have dominated the African print-fabric market since the end of the nineteenth century.
In an industry where the reverse is more common, a European-based textile company's primary market is in the third world. Almost none of the true Dutch wax print fabrics are bought in Europe or North America. It's only in Africa, where Real Dutch Wax carries the authority of a brand like Rolls-Royce or Rolex
These updated, contemporary Dutch designs are gorgeous, colorful,fun and are now finally being used in haute couture. Designers have been showing them as mesmerizing dress fabrics in Paris and New York finally. Could this finally replace the ikat in home furnishing fabrics???
Please read more about the interesting history and evolution of genuine Dutch wax prints in the Recomendations section of this website.
The African wax printed fabrics are hand printed with natural dyes in Ghana West Africa. There has been a recent effort to print and market the truly African wax printed fabrics and they are used by villagers as well as exported to American and Europe.