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What Is Adire Fabric? (Indigo Dyed Textile)

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When talking about the fabric from Africa, Adire in the Nigerian Yoruba language means ‘tie and dye’.

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This textile is rich in beauty and culture as much as it has a rich history.

In this post, you will learn about the meaning, history of the Adire textile and follow its’ progression through time.

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What Is Adire?

Adire textile is the indigo-dyed cloth made in southwestern Nigeria by Yoruba women, using a variety of resist-dyeing techniques.

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The clothes were usually made up of two strips of factory-produced cotton, sewn together to form a roughly square shape, and worn as wraps around the body.

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adire fabric

But there are some questions we should find answers to, like, how did the textile come about, where was it first made, who wore it first, how did it travel to other tribes, and so on.

Let get started with the history of the Adire fabric in fashion design. There are more things to know.

The History Of Adire Fabric

The tradition of resist- and tie-dyeing pre-dates African ‘wax prints’, going back centuries, with the earliest known example from the Dogon kingdom in Mali in the 11th century.

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As a distinctive textile type, Adire first emerged in the city of Abeokuta, a center for cotton production, weaving, and indigo-dyeing in the nineteenth century.

adire fabric

The Adire was first produced in Jojola’s compound of Kemta, Abeokuta by Chief Mrs. Miniya Jojolola Soetan, the second Iyalode (Head of Women) of Egba land, and later passed the process to her children and onward to the future generations.

For a while, the production of Adire cloth flourished and it was traded as a valuable commodity throughout Africa and beyond.

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The Art of Making Adire

The traditional production of indigo-dyed Adire involves the input of two female specialists-dyers (Alaro), who control the production and marketing of Adire, and decorators (Aladire), who create the resist patterns.

In the oldest forms of Adire, two basic resist techniques are used to create soft blue or white designs to contrast with a deeply saturated indigo blue background.

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adire fabric

Adire oniko is tied or wrapped with raffia to resist the dye. Adire eleko has starchy maize or cassava paste hand-painted onto the surface of the cloth as a resist agent. Further experimentation led to two additional techniques. 

Adire alabere involves stitching the cloth with thread prior to dyeing to produce fine-lined motifs. 

Adire batani is produced with the aid of zinc stencils to control the application of the resistant starch.

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Adire Fabric (Summary)

Now, you are not missing any useful story about Adire fabric. That is enough about what you have known about the fabric from Africa.

The art of making, designing, and dying African traditional textiles is as old as time. Fabrics have the quality to adds true value to an outfit.

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Good quality of the fabric means higher cost but it is an important factor when deciding what clothes to wear.

Also, check out one of our post of the 50 best Kampala Gown Style 2020 and Latest Kampala Styles For Ladies 2020

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Drop your comment in the comment section so we can know what you think about African textiles. You can also share this useful information with your loved ones.

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