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Friday, 26 April 2013


The cliche looking good is good business explains it all about fashion. And when talking about fashion, Yoruba's are not left out because they are fashionable people who love to make good fabrics as well as look good.

Who doesn't know that we have ọsan; day and orú: night on earth, that some parts of the world is hot (ilẹ oloorù) while the other is cold (ilẹ oloótútu). Its a natural phenomenon everything has an opposite. That is, everything on earth has ojú méji: a dual phase as there are two sides to a coin. Yoruba land is in a hot terrain so our cloths are made to suit the weather we have in Africa.

In the olden days just like Adam & Eve, the Yoruba people were also quick to notice their nakedness and then the ibàntẹ was invented to cover the organs. This is why my people say "a i fẹ ni pe ni, a i fi èèyàn pe eyan, lo mu ara oko san ibàntẹ wọ ilú" Due to the availability of igi owú: cotton seed and àwọ ẹran: animal skin/hide in Yoruba land, our handwoven clothing is a pride to the ọmọ karọ ojíre and worth boosting of.

The owú is woven into aṣọ-òkè, aran and ofi fabric, and animal hides used to make leather materials like footwear, sheaths.  Aṣọ: fashion in the Yoruba land serves many purposes, the first to cover the ihòhò: nude body and ẹṣọ ara: to beautify the body. While some cloths are worn for special engagements.

The agbàlàgbà: adults have their own aṣọ while the ọmọdé: young ones have theirs also. The men wears ẹwu: top like dàndógó, agbádágbáriyẹ, súlia, ọyàlà, bùbá & dànsiki for the body while sòkòtò like ṣanyinmọtan, ṣọrọ, kẹmbẹ, abàdán, ẹfá etc is worn to cover the lower torso down to the legs. One is not an ọmọluabi: a responsible man without the filà.

Filà: Yoruba cap, comes in òribi, eleti aja, bẹntigọ, fila-ẹtu, àkẹtẹ and et cetera. The Yoruba man adorn his dressing with pá itl: walking stick but is mostly used by old men. The Yoruba women also have their own cloths of which includes bùbá, gele, iborun. The tobi is like sòkòtò but shorter. Other accessories used for fashion by the Yoruba women are ẹgba, ilẹkẹ for both arms and neck, yẹti: ear ring, tiro and little osun for the face.

Therefore, in the Yoruba empire, fashion spreads across many ornaments and accessories (àwọn ohun aṣara l'ọṣọ) for the human body, it shows class and age of an individual. The cloth a chief wears varies from what a slave or peasant in the village will wear.

Usually the cloth apparel in Yoruba land covers the head (filà: cap), upper body from chest to waist (bùbá) and trouser called sòkòtò for men,women iró: wrapper and ipèlé/iborun: head gear similar to a scarf.

These attires are either made of asọ-oke, ofi, aran, agidi, adirẹ and the of recent lace, ankara. The aso-oke fabric is more expensive than the other cotton materials. The best of aso-oke comes in àlàári (colour red), sányán (brown), etu (dark blue)as well as in other colours.

Adirẹ (tie & dye)is a fabric of various patterns, design in indigo dye but later come in other colours. Lẹyin ti awọn oyinbo de ni aṣọ ankara de, ko si ankara, lace tẹlẹ ni ile Yoruba, awọn ti a ti kọ mẹnu ba lo wa'(we have no ankara before, ankara came with the invention of industrial weaving machine)

Have any of the Yoruba attire? Which one do you love to wear most? Do you know any other Yoruba fashion not stated here?

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