Vlisco and its battles

“La Famille,” also know as “Happy Family,” is Vlisco’s best-selling pattern made in a wax block style (you can read a bit about that process here) that’s an industrialized version of a traditional batik print. The hen, rooster, chicks and eggs represent a traditional family with mother, father, children, and babies on the way. The central placement of the female figure also implies that the woman is the center and head of the family.  [link]


New prints also take on meaning through current events, or are worn to remember moments of national pride. The fabric called “Michelle Obama’s Handbag” was given this name after Michelle Obama visited Ghana. Not that the print was modeled after the handbag worn by the first lady, but the national pride of having the Obama’s visit influenced the meaning of the print. [link]

Sadly, African wax print is in decline, with cheaper Chinese knockoffs stealing market share:

Ghana’s markets have flooded with cheap imports, arriving mainly from China in the last decade and under 3,000 jobs now remain in an industry which employed more than ten times that in the 1980s… Located in Tema, GTP is one of only four factories still operating. Renowned for its traditional designs and wax printed fabrics, the company has seen production levels drop 30 per cent and its production unit half since 2005. [link]


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