How to Ensure your African Print Fabric is Not a Cheap Imitation

Posted on 04 September 2018

Hello ladies,

The thing about shopping for African prints is that you can easily get captivated by all the colours and designs, you find yourself lost in a world of pretty fabrics that you forget that there are some fake materials.

Before I started my African print clothing store, I went shopping for African prints with my friend.

We stood in the middle of the market completely overwhelmed by all the different colours and prints of these fabrics, we were like little kids in a toy shop, we went absolutely crazy and got the flashiest of designs.

I made the cutest gown with one of the fabric, wore it for a wedding, everyone gushed about this dress and the fabric, before the day was over, a drink spilled on this dress. 

 

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I got home and did what any normal human being would do, i washed it, imagine my surprise when my pretty purple dress came out of the water almost grey and the water had turned completely purple.

That was one of the most heart breaking experiences of my life and i decided to research on how to ensure any African print fabric I buy was not a cheap imitation. 

So dear African print lovers, when next you want to shop for fabrics, here's what to look out for: 

 1. The Feel

The easiest way to spot a cheap imitation is to touch it, If it is rough or coarse, then it is possibly fake. African print fabric should be smooth to touch, gentle on skin and should iron easily.

So to test your African print fabric, give the fabric you plan to buy a pat.

If the material is smooth and soft, crumple it and if it returns back to its shape, go ahead and buy it.

2. The Material

African print is supposed to be 100% cotton.

To find out if its real cotton you should do the water text. Submerge it in water, if it bleeds, it's fake.

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Your African print is supposed to display the qualities of cotton which is; absorb moisture and dry quickly.

So, if the fabric doesn't do that its probably a fake.

Put a little water on your palm and rub it on the body of the material. If it wears off, it's fake. 

 

3. The Strength

Due to the nature of the cotton thread, the African print fabric is famously very strong.

Thanks to this, it has an ability to withstand extensive wear without tearing, so any material you buy that tears in days, is obviously the cheapest of all cheap imitations. 

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4. The Resistance

High quality Ankara fabric should have excellent resistance.

Its resistant to abrasions makes it more durable than other fabrics like silk, satin or cashmere. 

Good African print should not be scratched or damaged from abrasive movements, So if you scratch the fabric with your nail or a coin and you see a mark then it's not a good fabric. 

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5. The Colour and Design

Real African print fabrics tend to have a deeper colour and have their designs printed on both sides.

It's often very difficult to tell the back of an African print from the front unlike the cheap imitations that always have a copy printed on only one side of the fabric.

6. The Length of Material

Original African print fabric are always printed in 12 or 6 yards.

If it is printed in any length shorter than the original length, it is probably fake.

Well, except it was cut.

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7. The Manufacture's Name Printed on the Fabric

Original African print fabrics always have the producer or manufacturer's name, product name, design number and even the registration number of the company printed on the edge of the fabric, so look out for those too.

8. The Sheen

African print is expected to have a bit of sheen, but be very afraid when it shines too much. In the world of African print, all that glitters is absolutely fake.

9. The Cost

Good quality African print usually costs a lot more than the fake ones, so be ready to spend some cash on your fabrics but be rest assured that you will be wearing them for a long, long while. 

CONCLUSION

I believe we all deserve to have our money's worth, so don't let anyone rip you off, keep your eyes peeled on these qualities during your next shopping and try to get the real deal.

And if you've already gotten some cheap imitation fabrics, please don't submerge them in water. 

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