Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


May 3rd, 2020

Rebirth of Heritage – Textiles Made in Nigeria

So Fashion Made in Nigeria has seemed to almost erupt over the last few years and the gorgeous handmade textiles are being recognised more and more and this is what I want to briefly highlight. So lets dive in.

Now can I get personal for a minute? I personally LOVE Nigerian textiles with Adire being one that totally calls me out. Since the turn of the twentieth century, in Abeokuta, a center for cotton production, weaving, and indigo-dyeing and worn by the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria Adire is a resist-dyed cloth which means “tied and dyed,”. Adire applies indigo-dyed cloth that is decorated with resist patterns and now includes using a variety of hand-dyed textiles using wax resist batik methods to produce patterned cloth in a dazzling array of dye tints and hues.

You will find Adire oniko method which is tied or wrapped with raffia to resist the dye and then Adire eleko method that has starchy maize or cassava paste as a resist agent that is then hand-painted onto the surface of the cloth. The more traditional indigo-dyed adire production involves two female specialist-dyers called alaro, as well as aladire the ones who create the patterns. Traditionally adire used two basic resist techniques to create soft blue or white designs to contrast with a deeply saturated indigo blue background.

Designers who use this: Maki Oh is profoundly known to bring this to the limelight in Nigeria though many others use it and one to be checked o ut for her luxurious use of this.

One can NOT mention Adire without mentioning the Queen and champion of Adire internationally acclaimed artist, curator Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye, who stands for the maintenance of this tradition and heritage textile

Origins of Adire Textile – Sapelle

Aso Oke, a heritage craft of Yoruba origin produced mainly in Southern Nigeria Oyo state, Osun state and Kogi state sice 15th century is the thought. Official called Aso Ilu Oke can be interpreted to mean “clothes from the countryside” or “country cloth”. This traditional textile technique generates employment opportunities for millions in Nigeria and demands much supply for weddings, funerals, birthdays other ceremonies.

The fabric comes in many colours, designs and fabrics from wool to silks. Using unique patterns the fabric is made when these elaborate patterns are woven into strips of cloth. Typically called alaari a deep red silk, the sanyan typical for funerals and weddings and comes in pale brown/beige silk, and etu relating to a deep, indigo dye.

Designers who use this: Nkwo, Kenneth Ize, Ethnik by Tunde Owolabi, Shekudo

Known to be the cloth made in Port Harcourt, as one of the last centres of a once much wider tradition of Igbo women’s weaving, Akwete is a woven cloth made for Igbo ceremonial dress. Akwete can be made using a wide loom that allows a single width of cloth to form a women’s wrapper.

I encourage you to also explore the cotton industry which I will explore more at a further time.

Designers who use this: See our youtube video next week as I interview an amazing duo who have a brand focused on Nigerian cotton. Do subscribe to to be notified of videos that i upload every Thursday!

This Is Us Is Promoting Nigeria-Made Cotton Through Design

These cloths and textile are just a snippet of fabrics in Nigeria. Think Ankara, think Duna an elaborate marriage cloth, aso olona a highly ornate cloth, also leather too of various types to name a few.

This list is in no way exhaustive but  a clear representation of the types of textile ty[es and skillset that is available IN Nigeria. The level of expertise and product offerings put out on the market.

So one of the immediate ways for myself and the AFG team to help YOU the fashion business owner, with your sourcing strategies in Africa is to give you relevant industry information so you can be equipped. I have recognised from personal, on the ground field research, from setting up my own business in Africa and from speaking with relevant industry bodies, that Nigeria is a GO TO hub for African fashion and is becoming very attractive for retailers and also to source from and produce in.

So let’s continue each week to break it down for you. And then you can be more assured concerning joining our Nigeria Fashion Africa Sourcing Trip planned for October.

If you are spontaneous and serious about setting up in Africa then get in touch right away to join us! Email for info or to request to speak with me about coaching or sourcing directly through our agency.


Lastly..before I forget last year I had closed our 4000+ strong group on facebook and have now opened my new Facebook group African Fashion Entrepreneurs with a new focus and new weekly live trainings and am inviting you to get social with me and many others already in the group by joining us there. I would love to get to know your further so do hit the image for quick access.

  • Tuesday’s at 7pm I bring my series called “#FashionInFIVE” Facebook Live where I bring you weekly updates on key topics happening in Africa’s fashion industry from textiles, to fashion shows to business insights and more.

  • Every Wednesday at 7pm GMT/UK Every I bring in the group only Winning Wednesdays specific trainings to help you win in your African fashion business in 2020
  • And Fridays I will share my Fashion Business Friday tips with you.

See you there!

With love from Africa
Jacqueline Shaw

Your African Fashion Business Coach
Founding Director – Africa Fashion Guide Ltd




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