Is Adire becoming hot or not? You would agree that this thriving fabric of the 1900s and way before has lost touch with today’s trend. With Ankara, Crepe, Chiffon, Denim, and the likes all over the place, fabrics like Damask have been relegated to museums as a reminder of the history of fashion in the West. However, we’ve noticed a spring in Tie-and-dye trends that give us hope. Here is a fabric comeback we’re proud of.
Popularly dubbed “Tie & Dye”, Adire, also known as Batik, is an indigenous hand-made fabric of Southwestern Africa made with any plain fabric, but most popularly cotton and linen. Adire is dyed in the traditional method of tie-and-dye in pits of indigo solution, which gives it its name in Yoruba language,
“A dì í, a rẹ́”
(we tie and then dye it).
Other African countries like Mali are also heavy on the art.
Traditionally, Adire is made first by mixing indigo solution (from the Lonchocarpus Cyanescens plant) in prepared pits or bowls. Already designed fabrics made with cassava starch are then dipped into the dye solution to oxidize the whole length, or tied up in measured lengths to create basic patterns. The longer it soaks, the deeper the colour. After this, ties are loosened and then the fabric is spread out to dry. The result is a variety of coloured patterns in between white rims and borders on the fabric called Adire Eleko. A yard of this takes about 3 days to be made.
A modern technique is the dye-resistant wax method, which is more efficient and requires less time to the made. Designs are made on desired fabrics with melted wax, and then soaked in the dye solution. After spreading it out to dry, the wax is peeled off to reveal already set patterns.
Although Adire has been around for ages, the past millennium has seen a decrease in its use as a result of the Western factor of influence on traditional culture. However, in the past few decades, people have begun to turn their interest back to the old, making new, trendy, and unexpected designs from this beautiful Fabric.
A global comeback
Adire now appears on runways and laudable fashion magazines like Vogue in arrays of clothing and accessories not limited to dresses, shirts, pants, bags, hats, and what have you. More interesting is the exposure it now gains in the global market. Popular Nigerian Fashion designers like Amaka Osakwe (Maki Oh), Deola Sagoe, and famous artist, Nike Okundaye, are forerunners in the reintroduction of Adire to the West. Imagine chiffon Adire! Such an inspiration. Want to begin work on adire or other fabrics? Click here to know more.
Anyways, feed your eyes on these gorgeous Adire fabric styles and let us know what you think. Fab or not?