Nigeria has been known to be home of one of the biggest textile industries in Africa over the years. Nigeria is richly diverse in culture with over 500 ethnic groups and thirty-six states across the country. Fabrics make a great part of our culture, the colorful and glaring textiles unique to each culture. At some point, fabric is processed into clothing. Clothing traditions vary with each ethnic group. Each society has its own name for different types of clothing made out of traditional cloth peculiar to that people. These Fabrics and different patterns on them tell a particular story relating to the people. Fabrics are a part of one’s cultural heritage. Clothing can reflect beliefs of individuals and groups. Cloth weaving is a huge part of the Nigerian culture that goes way back. This weaving has been done on loom before the introduction of Industrial weaving machine.
The ‘akwete’ cloth is produced mainly in Akwete; a town in South-eastern Nigeria. Adire, produced by the Yoruba people of south western Nigeria. They also produce the aso-oke cloth. The Fulanis are known for the production of a woven cloth called ‘khassa’ while the Ibibios produce the ‘ukatt’. and the Ika people in Delta state produce a hand-woven fabric known as Akwa ocha and the Black and white fabric peculiar to the Tiv people of Benue state. Textile production dates to far back in Nigeria in prominent cities from the dye pits in Kano to the production of Adire in Abeokuta. In this post we would be focusing on three major textiles in Nigeria, Akwete cloth, Akwa ocha, and of course our very own Adire.
Akwete town is the headquarters of Ukwa East local government area of Abia state, Nigeria. Akwete is located 18 Kilometers northeast of the oil-rich city of Port Harcourt and 18 Kilometers southeast of the commercial city of Aba. The Akwete Cloth is produced from dyed, spun and twisted cotton yarn and are used to weave various designs unto the cloth. Different designs have different names and meanings. For example, there are designs for an unmarried lady, engaged but not yet married, a married lady, a widow or a divorcee. There are designs tailored tomark specific local or national ceremonies such as yam festival, independence anniversary etc. Akwete cloth is mostly used as a ceremonial wear as it is not cheap to produce and it is usually very beautiful. In the mid to late nineteenth century, weaving grew from part-time activity that occupied some women, to full-time occupation in which all Akwete women participated.
The traditional weaving in Akwete processes fibres such as sisal, hemp, raffia, cotton into finished products. While the coarse raffia materials are used by masquerades and in the past as head gear for warriors among other uses, the hemp material was used to weave towels, ropes and handbags.
Aso-Oke is a locally woven fabric commonly found in the South-West of Nigeria. The Fabric is a hand-woven cloth created by the Yoruba people of Nigeria, Aso oke translates to “top cloth” in the English Language meaning cloth of high status. The weaving is fine and neat. The fabric is used at traditional occasions such as weddings, engagements, funerals and other festivals. The fabric is used by both men and women. They are now more fashionable and more widely worn than before. It is a fabric originally worn but Yoruba people but now it is been worn by people all around and even beyond Nigeria. Aso-oke varies with design and with quality, years ago, it used to be made by hand by local craftsmen, today, technology has made it possible to make the clothing with machines. The clothing is now more beautiful and more fashionable and new types keep getting produced every day. The Fabric can be transformed to Agbada and trousers for men and gele, iro and buba for women.
Adire Is a Yoruba word which means “tied and dyed”. Adire was first produced and worn by the Yoruba people of south western Nigeria. Adire first emerged in the city of Abeokuta, a center for cotton production, weaving, and indigo-dyeing in the nineteenth century. Adire is made by resist-dyeing which involves creating a pattern by treating certain parts of the fabric in some way to prevent them absorbing dye.
Remember Adire Lounge is your one stop shop for everything Adire, from fabrics to accessories we are modernizing the art of Nigerian textile design. You can go through our website www.adirelounge.com to through our new arrivals and place an order. Wear Adire today and grow the naira.