Fashion made in Nigeria seems almost exploding in recent years, and the beautiful handmade textiles are increasingly recognizable. I would like to emphasize this briefly. So let’s dive in.
Can I have a personal moment? Personally, I love Nigerian textiles, and it is Adire who calls me ultimately. Since the beginning of the 20th century in Abeokuta, a center for the production of cotton, woven and dyed indigo, and Yoruba from southwestern Nigeria, Adire has been a dyed fabric with resistance meaning “tied and dyed.” Adire applies an indigo-dyed material which is decorated in solid patterns and now involves the use of a variety of hand-dyed textiles with reliable batik wax methods to produce a patterned fabric in a dazzling range of colors and nuances.
You will find the Adire onico method which is tied or wrapped in raffia to resist stains, then the Adire eleko method which has corn starch or cassava paste as a resistant agent, which is then hand-painted on the surface fabric. The more traditional production of indigo-dyed adire involves two specialized chemical cleaners(specialist dyers) called alaro, and aladire for those who create patterns. Traditionally, Adire has used two basic resistance techniques to create soft blue or white designs compared to a deeply saturated indigo blue background.
The designers who wear it: Maki Oh is deeply known to have brought this out in Nigeria, although many others wear it and should be reviewed for its excessive use.
Adire cannot be mentioned without mentioning the queen and champion of Adire, an artist of international renown, chief curator Nike Davies-Okundaya, who is committed to maintaining this tradition and this textile heritage.
The origin of the Adire textile – Sapelle
Aso Oke, a heritage ship of Yoruba origin, produced mainly in Oyo State in southern Nigeria, Osun State, and Kogi State, envisions the 15th century. An official called Aso Ilu Oke can be interpreted as “clothes from the countryside” or “country clothes.” This traditional textile technique creates employment opportunities for millions of people in Nigeria and requires an abundant supply for weddings, funerals, birthdays, and other ceremonies.
The fabric is supplied in many colors, designs, and materials from wool to silk. Using unique patterns, the fabric is made when these elaborate patterns are woven into strips of fabric. Alaari is commonly known as dark red silk, a sanyan typical for funerals and weddings, and is available in pale brown/beige silk and etu relating to deep indigo dye.
Designers using this: Nkwo, Kenneth Ize, Ethnik Tunde Owolabi, Shekudo
Akwete, also known as fabric made in Port Harcourt, as one of the last centers of the much broader tradition of Igbo women’s weaving, Akwete, is a woven fabric designed for the formal Igbo dress. Akwete can be made using a large loom that allows a width of the fabric to form a woman’s wrapper.
I also encourage you to explore the cotton industry, which I will explore in more detail at a further time.
These fabrics and textiles are only a fragment of the fabrics in Nigeria. Think of Ankara, think of Duna as an elaborate wedding cloth and of Aso Olona as a highly decorated fabric, also of various types of leather, to name a few.
This list is not exhaustive, but it is a clear overview of the types of fabrics and skills available in Nigeria. Level of experience and offer of products launched on the market. From personal research, in this field, I recognized by creating my own business in Africa and by discussing with the relevant industrial organizations that Nigeria is the center of IR fashion and becomes very attractive for traders as well as for supply and production.