There are different procedures on how to know original Ankara before you buy them; from the appearance, texture, and sometimes pricing of the cloth.
Also, there are ways through which you can identify good quality Ankara fabrics at home after you have bought them. Here are some of the few common ways we recommend you should try out.
Ways To Spot Quality Ankara at the Market
1. The Cotton Quality
Original Ankara fabrics are made of 100% cotton. The problem here is that you would hardly see any Ankara fabric print without a label that says 100% cotton even when it’s not.
Both Quality Ankara fabrics and the fake or low-grade ones have an inscription of “100% cotton” or “excellent resistance”. To make sure that the Ankara fabric you’re getting is made of cotton while you’re still at the market, here’s what you should do;
Ask the seller if the fabric is 100% cotton. For someone that does not have an idea of how cotton looks and feels on touch, you would easily be deceived. That is why you need to make your purchase from an honest seller.
2. How the Ankara Fabric Feels on Touch
When you touch an original Ankara fabric, it feels soft and smooth but also bulky. Just so you know, there are three grades of Ankara fabric that you’re likely to see when you go to make your purchase at a Nigerian Market.
First, the low grade Ankara material. These sometimes feel like paper but thicker. If you scratch the fabric gently with your nail or a coin, you would spot a commonly white mark. Also, if you take up a part of the fabric and squeeze it between your palms, it would easily leave crumbled lines that may need ironing to look normal again.
For the medium-quality Ankara, it doesn’t feel like paper as it feels softer than that. You would notice that the fabric just feels so light (although, not lighter than the low-grade ones). It may or may not leave crumble lines when you squeeze between your palm. Also, when you scratch it, you won’t see any marks or lines.
The material of top-quality Ankara wax is smooth and soft. Though you can squeeze it between your palms, it immediately returns to its original shape without looking like something you need to rush over to your dry cleaners.
Original Ankara also has the most bulk of material when you weigh it between others (You can do this by raising the wax with your hand)
3. The Pricing of the Ankara Fabric
Generally, when you go to buy Ankara fabric from a Nigerian store or market, the vendor would ask you what grade, after which he or she presents the different grades of Ankara prints they have.
If you don’t get this question, then you might be told to select from different sides of the store, the pattern you most prefer. These sections would have different pricing, which means that the most expensive ones are likely the original ones while the least priced is the cheap quality Ankara material.
For instance, low-grade Ankara costs between N1500 to N2500 on average. Medium-grade Ankara is sold for N2500 to N4000. The price of Original Ankara is above N5000.
The only problem with this pricing is that this is the amount at which you would get it at a large Nigerian market.
When you go to a boutique, you may even find out that the low-grade Ankara starts at N5000 while the quality ones are above N10,000 or N20,000 depending on the store.
So what you can do to sort yourself out here is go for the ones with high pricing. Quality Ankara materials are never cheaper than N5000 so don’t be deceived.
If you don’t know an honest seller to buy your original Ankara print from, or you don’t know what cotton looks like, or even how it feels, you would easily be sold the low-quality Ankara material.
There’s no use painting words for you because those are the preliminaries to identifying quality Ankara fabrics while you are still at the market. Nevertheless, if you have already purchased the fabric and want to find out the authenticity of your wax, this is what you should do
How to Know Original Ankara at Home
After you have bought your Ankara fabric whether online or in-store, here is how you can know and identify quality Ankara fabrics.
1. Check whether the fabric is water-friendly
Quality Ankara fabrics are made from cotton hence they should absorb water when it comes in contact with it. You can put some drops of water on the fabric to see if it properly absorbs the water.
When water is dropped on a low-quality Ankara fabric, the drops will first float on the fabric before it eventually gets absorbed. This is the action of the cheap dyes used in the production of the material.
For quality Ankara fabrics, the water drops easily pass through the fabric to get absorbed.
2. Did the fabric fade out easily?
This procedure would be best used after you have worn the fabric a couple of times. Normally, quality Ankara fabrics will stay for a long time before it starts to fade. Some may not even fade if handled properly.
On the other hand, the dye used in producing some low-grade Ankara material washes out after the first washing. In some, the dyes do not wash out prominently, but it fades out quickly and fibers of the cloth start pulling out.
3. The time it takes to dry
Low-grade Ankara fabrics dry out quickly just like a chiffon or silk fabric would do. Quality Ankara is quite the opposite because it takes a moderate time to dry. Not too quickly and not too slow.
Closing Notes – Why You Should Invest in Quality Ankara Material
Though it might sound profitable for you to go for a low-grade Ankara material simply because of the pricing. However, it is quite the opposite because that stunning clothing style that you’re already imagining recreating would be a drab failure on a low-quality material.
At first look, it may still be serving all the vibes you want to get, but the second time, you would come to understand that is not every cheap cloth you need to buy. So the takeout from this is – Go for quality Ankara materials. They would serve you for longer periods.