In some parts of Africa, especially Nigeria, working in the banking industry is such a big deal as people associate the profession with success. It’s such an unspoken culture.
Despite this seeming successful outlook, people leave the banking industry to pursue other ventures. What is surprising is when a banker moves from being a blue-collared professional to making Adire – a profession that gets your hands dirty.
One person who has made this bold move is Adeola Rukayat Idonije-Badmus,founder/creative director at Shayfaari Fabrics and Interiors. Adeola is an indigenous textile artist and a craft maker who is greatly inspired by her love and passion for women and culture.
Who is this woman whose dream is to take young women off street hawking and empower over 5,000 young unemployed women from rural areas, ghettos in Lagos and Nigeria at large by December 31, 2025 with sustainable business skills in the art of Adire production for free?
IBIENE sits with Adeola for a chat. Here is how the conversation went;
IBIENE: How did your passion for Adire fabrics begin?
Growing up as a child I loved Art, I studied Art design and printing technology at The Polytechnic in Ibadan. After school, I worked in a financial institution for 3years. But then I got tired of doing the same thing daily. So, I left banking to pursue my dream which is being creative. In 2015, I started resigned and started my Ankara craft business. After a year in Ankara business, I found out that Ankara prints are not originally our own or even made in Nigeria. So, the journey into using Adire fabric for our fashion and interior accessories started. A few months later, I got tired of buying Adire designs that are common in the market and some of these fabrics run while washing or standing in the rain. This problem gave birth to Shayfaari fabrics, we trained at Nike Art gallery in Osogbo and also under Adara Foundation in Lagos. In 2018, the journey into the Adire world began fully and we have been creating top-notch designs since then till date. We have served both individuals and corporate customers both home and abroad.
IBIENE: What are your thoughts about the Nigerian textile Industry right now and can it compete favourably with the rest of the world?
The Nigerian textile industry is way behind the rest of the world. Textile companies have either moved to other countries or closed down business. Even the Adire makers are still facing a huge challenge of importing the majority of the raw materials we use from other countries. Our human intellectual ability is the main thing we put to use. The fabrics, dyes and chemicals are imported but these materials can be easily made here in Nigeria if we are a functioning sector. This will make running the Adire business in Nigeria more convenient and will enlarge our capacity on the world tap.
IBIENE: How does it make you feel to see global entertainment personalities wearing the African prints and Adire?
The first time I saw Adekunle Gold rocking Adire in his music video, I was super excited. In fact, most celebrities now wear Adire more than Ankara prints. If you visit places like Freedom Park and Terra kulture you will be wowed with the level at which Nigerians general have accepted Adire fabrics lately.
IBIENE: What is the process of making a simple Adire design?
The simplest process in making Adire design is Scrunching a piece of wet fabric and adding colours to it in a very professional way. After some minutes you rinse the fabric, sun dry it and iron.
IBIENE: How long have you been running your Adire business?
We have been in the Adire business since 2018.
IBIENE: What tips do you give to your trainees in the business of making Adire?
Proper accounting and bookkeeping records.
Separating themselves from the business.
Proper costing on each product to enable them to sell at the right price.
Sourcing for production materials from the right supplier.
IBIENE: There is the belief that Adire materials aren’t durable especially with the colour when washed. Can you correct that misconception?
Not all Adire materials run colours when washed. We can boldly speak of Shayfaari Fabrics because we work with quality materials and we always want to give our customers valuable fabrics that can be worn in all seasons and be used by both local and international brands.
IBIENE: In what way does Adire pattern making connect you to your roots?
Adire is our heritage.
Adire is our culture.
Adire connects the new generation and will connect the unborn generations to our roots.
The traditional pattern especially connects us to local musical instruments (Gangan, sekere), tribal marks, plants and seeds (Orogbo, Ewe ege). And as an original Ibadan woman, we are known to be deeply rooted in the Yoruba culture.
IBIENE: What life lessons have Adire making taught you?
Hmmm! Adire making taught me to be hardworking and diligent. Adire making is not for the faint-hearted. Also, we say “Asiri Aladire kii tu” a Yoruba phrase which means An Adire maker never lacks a good thing in life.
Do you have any question or comment? Please share with us in the comment section.