Whatever you make of the 'African fashion' appellation, you might agree that there's much on the African continent that is overlooked, undervalued, and even outrightly discarded. Yet, heritage is central to identity in many ways -- food, dress, inside jokes, language, dance –- and while report after report documents the decline of indigenous modes of art and cultural production, there’s much we can do to fan the embers of heritage and keep the flames burning long enough to hand them down. At My Asho Market, this renewed interest in preservation and appreciation led us to Abeokuta in southwestern Nigeria where we interacted with textile entrepreneurs skilled in the art and craft of adire (ah-d-reh; tie and dye).
Our one-day immersion led us from bustling stalls in Itoku market stocking a variety of locally dyed cloth to a more behind-the-scenes look at the various stages of production – from the application of cassava paste on some pieces to a tour of dye baths and conversations with grandmothers whose mothers watched over them as they tied their first knots and unraveled their first masterpieces. For our first of several capsule collections this year, we bring you a special collection of adire pieces, each fashioned in Lagos from fabrics selected from Itoku – our small way of participating in handcrafted heritage that has survived from the late 1800s until now, and your passport to a healthy dose of colour and beauty that you may yourself someday hand down.
Share your thoughts and comments below. Have you been fortunate to visit Abeokuta or other areas to see local fabric printing methods being applied? What other types of prints/techniques would you like to see on My Asho Market?