I have been experiencing a love lately for Dutch wax printed fabrics. I saw a review of a multi-media exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 2009 by Yinka Shonibare, a contemporary British-Nigerian artist. He uses what we in the States refer to as African wax print fabrics throughout his exhibitions. The amazing fabrics in the pitures just blew me away. They were large spirited printed abstract patterns in riots of color that were mesmerizing.
What I learned is that these “African textiles” are actually of Dutch origin and were inspired by the beauty of Javanese batiks that are laboriously handpainted and use the wax resist method of dying. The batik and wax printed apparel fabric that is an integral part of West Africa’s culture is actually from the Netherlands. There are knock-offs coming out of China and West Africa that cost less money, but the coveted ones are the ones produced by the Dutch that have been exported to West African since the early 1900’s. I find this completely fascination because, as a textile maven, I never knew this until I did some research after the article on the exhibition.
Anyway, I have seen these fabrics used in haute couture and they are starting to grace catwalks. I have enclosed some amazing photos of gorgeous apparel using these Dutch wax prints.
I have not been able to contain myself since I decided to bring out a decorative pillow collection that use these expressive prints. They are all meant to be thrown together without obvious coordination of pattern and color. I have finally added some to my collection on www.fabricadabra.us and so hope that the home furnishings industry begins to embrace Dutch wax prints as much as apparel has. I predict that they will become a high end design trend in home furnishings. What are your thoughts?