Best Market for African Ankara Fashions
Posted on January 06 2018
Hello and Welcome,
Thanks for reading my blog, I am Coco Ako, Founder of Coco Ako Boutique! I know some of you have had some of the same questions as I had years ago before my travels to Africa. I will be sharing tips and how to navigate local markets/Malls and finding deals! I know for most people in the Diaspora, it's challenging to obtain quality affordable Ankara wax print fashions. Local tailors in US/UK can bevery pricey and often don't quite understand the custom styles.
After traveling to Nigeria, I found Balogun market to be very interesting. Balogun market is located on Lagos Island. The market is huge,sprawls across several streets and is known for sale of ready-made fashions, accessories, and fabrics such as lace, Ankara, etc. The hustle and bustle, traffic and congestion in this market area is on another level, as in 3.0. So, I recommend wearing low comfy shoes in which you can walk in and lots of local cash. If you are like me, I saw so many interesting items, but was limited by the amount of cash at the market. There are lots of banks around the market with ATM's, but you always want to keep a low profile while abroad for safety reasons. Keep any expensive personal belongings at home, so you can focus on enjoying your time at the market.
Do note it is not a food or produce market. I will share more about this, on an upcoming blog. It has a very energetic, positive vibe with locals on foot, on Keke's (local three-legged open door yellow taxi), everyone seems to be on a treasure hunt. Every section of the market seems to be subspecialized in different commodities. For example, African print wax clothing, also popularly known as Ankara/Kitenge is found in the eastern part of the market. You will find ready-made dresses, shirts, blouses, pants, caftans, local jewelry here at a reasonable price. You can start to bargain with local vendors at 50% of prices quoted, it is not customary to pay full prices. Be sure of your purchases, there are usually no refunds or exchanges. Especially if you purchase items on the open street, you may not find the same vendors in that same spot the next day. You can carry snacks but can find local akara (white-eye peas puffs), plantain chips, and buns at market. The day goes very quickly in the market, so plan to arrive early in morning and to leave before rush hour traffic especially if your residence is on Victoria island or Lekki Phase 1 or 2, as this could cost you over an hour extra time if you get stuck in it. If you are visiting like I was, you can also install Uber app on your mobile device and use it for your travels in Lagos, just in case you are low on cash. It works there same as here.
Good luck and safe travels!