Historically, Adire as a fabric has been an ancient art of tie and dye associated with Yorubas in South Western Nigeria. According to Adire African Textiles, “Unlike Aso Oke which Yoruba people often kept as a family heirloom for decades, Adire was an everyday cloth usually worn out and discarded”
Fast forward to 2017 and it’s now a highly coveted fabric for a lot of high end Nigerian brands.
What exactly may have sparked this change? For starters it’s no secret that there has been a spotlight on African fashion for quite some time and global shifts in luxury spending have revealed that company profits are slowly dwindling. This is due to a lack of freshness in designs and concepts leading consumers to venture outside the traditional big four fashion capitals for them.
For the moneyed Nigerian millennial buyer, wearing this fabric is a way of embracing ethnic identity as well as tapping into the luxe fashion statement that individualism has brought on to the international fashion community.
Thanks to brands like Maki Oh and Post Imperial who were able to revive the art of the dye-ing process in luxury fashion and champion it in worldwide fashion circles. The creative director of Maki Oh Amaka Osakwe has been able to tell new stories reflecting the life of African women with hand dyed techniques that have been incorporated into the classic cottons, silks and canvas. With this she’s been able to parlay her art into commercial success with a global retail presence from New York to Lagos.
For Post Imperial, the menswear brand has been able to craft a unique wardrobe for African men in the diaspora, by highlighting how the fabric translates into essentials that seamlessly flow into wardrobes with ease hereby sparking a new wave of global fashion citizenship. It’s a movement that’s quickly being embraced by Lagos’ fashionable set and has also gained a stamp of approval from GQ and Mr. Porter.
Although it may not have the all reaching overtly commercial appeal of ankara, it definitely will earn a spot in every wardrobe with an eye for good style.