You may recognize this fabric. Its iconic design was created over fifty years ago by Vlisco textile designer Toon van de Manakker, who based the print on a 19th century Ethiopian noblewoman’s tunic. The pattern was originally one of the most important products in the Vlisco range, a beloved best-seller that has been imitated repeatedly since the sixties and continues to be produced to this day.
At Vlisco, it is the consumer who names each product, which is why you may know this fabric as ‘Addis Ababa’, 'Miriam Makeba’, 'Mashallah’, or may simply refer to it as 'dashiki print'—after the garment on which it has had its greatest cultural influence. What you may not know, is that one of the most popular names for the fabric, 'Angelina’, has its roots in 1970s Ghana.
In the late seventies, the popularity of the print coincided with the release of the hit song “Angelina” by legendary Ghanaian highlife group The Sweet Talks. People began referring to the printed fabric as 'Angelina’ (after the similarly vibrant track) and the name has become so popular that even Vlisco now uses it when referring to the iconic print. If you have always wondered why it is they call it 'Angelina’, now you know!