THE WAX PRINT REVIVAL
The media tend to refer to them as “African prints”.The patterns found on Dutch wax prints. which is a kind of resin-printed fabric that has long been manufactured in the Netherlands for a West African market. Long story short, the story begins in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), where locals have long used the technique of applying wax to a cloth, and then dying over that wax to create a pattern to make batik. In the mid-19th century, the Dutch took enslaved West Africans and mercenaries to beef up their army in Indonesia. While there, these men took a liking to the local handicrafts and brought batik back to their home countries. A taste emerged in West Africa for these Indonesian designs. In the meantime, Europeans worked hard to figure out how to manufacture their own versions of batik, with the intention of flooding the market in Indonesia with cheaper, machine-made versions of the cloths (the handmade versions were labor-intensive and expensive). Finally, at the end of the 19th century, a Belgian printer developed a method for applying resin to both sides of a cotton cloth, and the machine-made wax-print fabric was born. But there was a problem: The machine-made version of these cloths developed a crackling effect a series of small lines, dots, and imperfections where the resin cracked and dye seeped through that didn’t appeal to Indonesian batik purists. In need of a market for the new textiles, the Dutch turned to West Africa who appreciated the fact that no two bolts of cloth were identical while using this fabric as a marker of status. Nowadays West Africans often pay a premium pricr for European-made wax print fabric, even though West African-made and, increasingly, Chinese-made wax print fabrics are available on the market for a considerably cheaper price.
THE REVIVAL OF SARI FABRIC
A sari (also spelled saree) is a garment worn by many women in the indian subcontinent. It consists of a long strip of cloth which can be wrapped in various styles. The most common style is wrapped around the waist, then one end is draped over the shoulder.