The global attention has been turned on African textiles in recent times.
The conversation around the protection of African inspired and created textiles from being extracted right under our noses covers the front page of most publications.
The Afropole, along with Untamed Empire and Streamline 360, in seeking to centre. Africa and Afrodiasporans identity in that conversation, present Ghana’s first ever wax print festival.
Given recent controversies with brands like Christian Dior and Vlisco, Africans and Afrodiasporans have sought to have greater creative control and economic return from their cultural relics. African or African-inspired textiles have key attributes that reflect African identity, heritage, ancestry and culture, and yet, the most popular textiles are not made by Africans. Hence, an ongoing conversation about whether wax print is truly African.
Through this festival, organisers hope to unpack prejudice and uncertainty about the topic by creating informative, fun experiences that encourage new thinking on all of the diverse African textiles worn by African and Afrodiasporan people. The festival intends to promote innovation that will push the industry forward and challenge black communities around the world to become economic giants in these spaces.
The Wax Print Festival is a three-day event slated for June 14- June 16. Powered by over 30 partnerships, it is expected to add range and texture to the festival experience.
The event will feature exhibitions divided into four sections dubbed, The Past, The Present, Intersections and The Future. These exhibits will explore themes of relevance in African textiles. Additionally, there will be live demos on kente weaving, batiking and bead-making brought by Afrothreads; food vendors curated by TasteTales Ghana; Music featuring artists such as Worlasi, Trigmatic, MaaYaa, DJ Vim Tinz, Eff the DJ and many more being added; the Quick Stitch Station which will feature a fashion design kiosk where attendees can turn fabric into same day delivery fashion; and the premiere of The Wax Print Film for the first time in Africa, scheduled for June 15th and 16th, song with film director Aiwan Obinyan who will be part of a panel to discuss key themes that come to the fore in the film.
The festival arrives as part of the official “Year of the Return” celebrations being promoted by Ghana Tourism Authority under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and is an opportunity for Diasporans to also engage in this meaningful work.
The Afropole is a brokerage that connects African and Afrodiasporan businesses within the food, beauty and creative industries. Through events, communications, merchandise and business advisory, The Afropole aims to build trust and community, develop resources and enrich value chains to #BuildBlackGlobally.
The Afropole’s Wax Print Festival provides an opportunity to showcase the creativity of African and Afrodiasporan businesses across the textile value chain in order to build connections and, ultimately, economic development for black communities worldwide. Through partnerships and collaborations that leverage key competencies within key organizations across Africa and the diaspora.
Untamed Empire is a creative business incubator and multi-brand collective of over 50 high-quality local lifestyle & creative brands in over 6000 square feet. Fashion & accessories, Digital art co-working space, Art gallery, Framing shop, tailors, carpenter, all in one space to serve as a hub for the creative industry, and a bridge to the diaspora through creative talent. Described as the “Colette of Africa”, the idea is that an individual who resonates with the bold attitude & style of the store has a destination for clothing, art, accessories, events! Founded by Sefa Gohoho Boatin, it aims to identify, select, train, exhibit and distribute the best creative talent from the continent, including the use of African materials.
Streamline 360 is a boutique creative house that specializes in branding, marketing and advertising. With a philosophy focused on leveraging African talent to propel brands for a global market, Streamline 360 founded by Bright Boakye- Danquah believes in the power of storytelling as a means of economic empowerment and growth for brands seeking to scale and take the world by storm.
Through this collaboration, Wax Print Fest will be held at the illustrious Untamed Empire and has been branded and marketed by Streamline 360 to reach a global diaspora audience during this Year of Return. Whether the wax print is African or African-Inspired, The Afropole’s Wax Print Festival is an event for Ghanaians, Africans and Afrodiasporans alike to claim and celebrate what African textiles mean culturally and economically.