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  Aso oke is a traditional cloth made and mostly worn by the Yoruba tribe, the Western part of Nigeria. Aso oke, literally translated to the English language means ‘cloth up’, a cloth of good standing. It means that the aso oke is a traditional fabric made and worn for important events: weddings, funerals, birthday celebrations, traditional ceremonies, and the like. 
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In the olden days, the fabric amongst others is a symbol of the rich Yoruba culture. The fabric is worn both by the royals and the common men. The process of making aso oke from start to finish is mostly manual. It was and is still made by Yoruba traditional weavers.  Cotton which is used as the thread to make the fabric is planted during the rainy season and harvested during the dry season. After harvesting the cotton, the weavers painstakingly separate the important part of the cotton from the dirt and other unimportant parts. The fabric is then handwoven by trained weavers to create beautiful fabric designs. Because of the amount of effort and creativity that go into making the fabric, the cost is usually higher than other locally made Yoruba fabrics like Adire and Ankara. The fabric is of good quality and the owner usually wears it with his/her head very high. During the 15th century, when the Yorubas started making the fabric, women wore buba (a locally worn top) and tied the aso oke as iro (wrapper) and gele (head tie), while the men sewed the fabric as agbada (an oversized top) and sokoto (trouser) with fila (cap).  However, in this modern era, the traditional fabric has been incorporated into a modern silhouette for women. Though it has maintained the olden day’s use and style, designers have added a modernized look to it. The aso oke gele (head tie) is very popular in ceremonies in Nigeria, it is used as part of aso-ebi (cloth worn by the families during events), the gele is tied in a more structured, creative and beautiful way, unlike the olden days where it is wrapped loosely on the head. Even for men, their fila(cap) has witnessed modernity. The fabric is usually made in two folds, the plain and the pattern. The plain consists of a single colour while the pattern is a mixture of different colours. Either of them can be worn as it is solely your decision to make.

Nigerians and Aso oke

The colour of this outfit is majestic. The neckline compliments the puffy sleeve. Embroidery was added from the waistline to the hem of the mermaid gown. Her turban headpiece, dangling earrings, clean makeup look, neckpiece and heels complement the look perfectly.
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The mixture of the plain and pattern aso oke is definitely a look. The band of the dress accentuate her waistline. Her infinity gele was perfectly laid on her head. The wrap at the lower part of the dress defined her hips. The earrings, neckpiece, bangles and nails worked together with the look. She finished the look with clean natural makeup.  3. This is definitely aso oke couple of goals. The colour of the aso oke is plain vibrant orange. While the woman donned in a straight gown, her husband rocked a traditional style. Embroidery was added to their outfit. They also wore the aso oke as gele and Fila respectively.  This is also a modernized design of the aso oke fabric. The pattern aso oke is designed as a casual everyday look for men. It is simple yet sophisticated. It can be worn to work on Fridays. Aso oke, though made by the Yorubas, can be worn by any tribe in the world. The fabric gives you a classy, chic and elegant look. It is a statement fabric, so you don’t need to do too much. With the right designer and style, you can walk on waters with your aso oke. Featured Image Source: Instagram
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This article was first published on 12th February 2022 and updated on February 17th, 2022 at 8:20 pm


My name is Agbagba Bukola. I write about the business and exciting world of fashion.

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