‘Adire’ is a style of fabric that is common in Africa, especially in the West African States such as Mali, Nigeria, Guinea, and others. It is unique among Africans and now being exported into European countries. Some call it ‘’Kampala’’Adire or Kampala goes with any season and can be worn on any occasion- naming, wedding, house warming, chieftaincy and funeral. From professionals to artisans, corporate workers, to farmers, Dons, students and many more.
Adire is used as window blind ay homes and some corporate offices, in fact, a reminiscence of Mali 2002 opening ceremony will remind us how an array of colourful ‘adire’ was used to create special effects and add colour to the ceremony. What wonderful work the Malians did to promote the African culture.
Adire is a Yoruba word meaning ‘’tie and dye. The Yoruba of South-West Nigeria have adopted so many styles from the Malian immigrants and they have so improved upon the fabric production. Different patterns and colours can now be seen all over the place. In fact, history has it that the immigrants from the Western Sudan country of Mali brought the style to Nigeria sometimes in the 14th Century.
Before the advent of procion dyestuffs of different colours, the Yoruba of Western Nigeria was using a local brand of dye known as indigo, ranging from dark blue to light–blue. Both the indigo-dyed fabric and procion –dyed fabric are now essential commodities and in great demand by Brazilians, Italians, Germans, English, Americans and so on.
The fabric is largely produced in Mali and Nigeria. Coming back home, Kuto in Abeokuta, Akerele road in Lagos, Osogbo and Kano are noted for an array of this wonderful fabric production of Africa.
‘’Adire’’ comes in two notable styles, namely ‘’Adire-Oniko’’, which involves the use of raffia to tye the fabric before being dyed so that the tied areas can create patterns. The other style is called Adire-Eleko. This involves the use of either pap, starch or wax to prevent the dye from penetrating, therefore creating patterns after dyeing. Having any good design in fabric involves artistic complexity and requires much patience, skill and artistry. These can be achieved with years of experience.
With the new cultural awareness and latest development in fashion in Nigeria and the outside world, fashion designers are now giving the style of fabric production significant boost and enormous publicity, by fabricating different styles, ranging from full embroidered kaftan, ‘Buba’, skirt and blouse and many more, for women, Safari suit, jacket, shirt and trouser and te like to resemble European styles, for men. When you put it on anytime, people begin to admire and appreciate the work of African designs.
By- Adefemi Adeyinka