Hey guyss, how are we doing? 😊 Hope we’ve all had a wonderful week? Trust we have 😉 .. Welcome to the weekend ladies and gentlemen 😎
So today, in my personal effort to lift African fabric and fashion as much as I can, I decided to start a series that’ll run for a few weeks, with my focus being on the popular Nigerian fabric, ADIRE!
Before we get to the styling bit, let’s remind ourselves a bit of the history of Adire 😊
Adire is the name given to indigo dyed cloth produced by Yoruba women of south western Nigeria using a variety of resist dye techniques. Adire translates as tie and dye, and the earliest cloths were probably simple tied designs on locally-woven hand-spun cotton cloth much like those still produced in Mali. In the early decades of the twentieth century however, the new access to large quantities of imported shirting material made possible by the spread of European textile merchants in certain Yoruba towns, notably Abeokuta, enabled women dyers to become both artists and entrepreneurs in a booming new medium.
New techniques of resist dyeing were developed, most notably the practice of hand-painting designs on the cloth with a cassava starch paste prior to dyeing. This was known as adire eleko. Alongside these a new style was soon developed that speeded up decoration by using metal stencils cut from the sheets of tin that lined tea-chests.
Another method was to use sewn raffia, sometimes in combination with tied sections, while other cloths were simply folded repeatedly and tied or stitched in place. The basic shape of the cloth is that of two pieces of shirting material stitched together to create a women’s wrapper cloth. Most of the designs were named, and popular designs included the jubilee pattern, (first produced for the jubilee of George V and Queen Mary in 1935), Olokun or “goddess of the sea”, and Ibadadun “Ibadan is sweet.”
In the 1920s and 30s adire was a major local craft in the towns of Abeokuta and Ibadan, attracting buyers from all over West Africa but by the end of the decade problems over quality caused by the spread of synthetic indigo and caustic soda, coupled with an influx of new less skilled entrants into the craft, led to a collapse in demand from which it never really recovered. The more complex and beautiful starch resist designs continued to be produced until the early 1970s, but despite a revival prompted largely by the interest of US Peace Corp workers in the 1960s, never regained their earlier popularity. Today simplified stencilled designs and some better quality tie & die and stitch-resist designs are still produced, but local taste favours multi-coloured wax-resist cloth usually known as “kampala,” though a few people still call this adire. Good examples of the older styles are getting harder and harder to find in Nigeria, and in a few years time these masterpieces of indigo dyeing may have disappeared altogether.
For something so rich in style, history and culture, it’s our responsibility to prevent this masterpieces from disappearing altogether, and we can only do this by reviving and fitting it into contemporary style, because then, and only then, will it be relatable to the fashion community and that brings us to today’s look .. A Suit made in ADIRE 😊
The major things this look screams to me are elegance, style and uniqueness, a uniqueness only Adire can give, and even when it’s styled to look like the dapper outfits that are more in vogue, it still remains unique.
This Adire is multicolored, a particular reason I love it, and I took advantage of that in the styling by picking one of the more salient colors (purple) and using it as my palette for styling, along with the more pronounced navy blue and doesn’t it look gorgeous put together?
I also did this look in collaboration with this lovely style blogger @renestyles (I’m sure you remember her from the last editorial 😊), and her outfit actually compliments mine in that it was styled to look outrightly contemporary, classic and stylish, more like “NEW AGE Fashion’. The reason it compliments mine is because contemporary is the key in my styling as well, so there’s a connection between these two looks.
So guys, this is the first editorial from the series .. I hope you love the pictures, there are more to come, more ways to make different types of Adire look good .. I’m excited about this series 😅 .. I hope you are too 😊
Photos by @thelexash
Outfit by @emehnoelofficial
Thank you for reading guys 😊 .. Love you always ❤️