African Fashion Soaked Up In High Price


African ankara skirt I had made to order for $20 in Africa

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A green version of the $20 skirt I’m wearing above, found at Saks NYC for $$$!!!

This is for all of you shopaholics out there not well educated in the art of African “Ankara” fabrics. You see, Africans have been wearing geometric print fabrics for centuries at milestone events, rituals, farm work and so forth. The fabric is part and parcel of everyday life in Africa, especially West Africa. The fabric is sold in yards very affordably so you can imagine my excitement when I started seeing it mainstream fashion market in the western part of the world like the US and Europe. I was especially excited yesterday when I spotted a rack full of them at Saks, a super high end store in NYC where I saw the exact print of the skirt I bought in Africa a few years ago! However, I was taken aback when I laid eyes on the price tag that came with it. I understand that the store has to maintain the 5th Avenue location and pay employees but I could not get over paying $700 or so for the same print I paid $10-$20 for in Africa! Mine was made to made to my body shape, the $700 version is off the rack. By definition, the one from Africa made BY HAND is couture and should be valued more! About 3 years ago, the British high fashion brand Burberry had their version, claiming to have been “inspired by architectures of buildings” to come up with the print! HELLO! Look at the images farther below and tell me if that is not an African print! That outfit had a $1000+ price tag! Bed Bath & Beyond did a duvet cover from African fabric patchwork fabric from Ghana with a $500 price tag.

So far, the brands that have managed to be more realistic with their price points have been Zara and H&M! I sashayed over to the other side of the street opposite Saks selling the $800-$2000 versions to pick up $25 creations at H&M. Let me be quick to add that the fabrics are all the SAME QUALITY! Shoe designers also use them for their creations like the Stuart Weitzman version seen on Beyonce on sale for $2500!

I guess with bright lights, 5th avenue address, silky designer label and beautiful mannequin in a fancy store, you forget what you’re paying for. I often wondered how much of that high price tag goes back to the poor villages making the fabrics in Africa, the REAL source!


African ankara print on shoes by Stuart Weitzman seen here on Beyonce, $2500 price tag

Celebrities (sample posted here on my facebook page) are now wearing the fabric on the red carpet! It’s only a matter of time before the makers in Africa get a wind of the high prices in the west and that would only result to a price hike on their end too. Heaven help us!

So when next you’re out shopping for the African “Ankara” fabric styles, be sure to educate yourself and be wise enough to know where you can get them for less. A train ride to Brooklyn/Queens/Bronx to an African boutique will save you bundle! Be sure to preview all of the images below.

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The same print from my $20 skirt above. Seen at Saks for $800 designed by Haitian-Italian designer Stella Jean

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A jumpsuit version of the same print from my $20 skirt above. Seen at Saks for $700 designed by Haitian-Italian designer Stella Jean


African ankara price seen at Burberry

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From Burberry collection for Men 3 years ago for $500

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African ankara print blouse seen at Saks

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Bed duvet covers made of Ankara patchwork fabric sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, $500


A $1000 version by Burberry few seasons ago


A very affordable version I found at H & M for less than $30. I loved it so much I bought 2 different styles of the same print


African ankara styles seen at Zara for less than $50


Grammy winner India Arie in full African ankara gown designed by her mom


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