What is “Aso-Oke” Traditional Fabric
WHAT IS “SO-OKE?
Aso-Oke is a coined from the expression “Aso Ilu Oke” which means “clothes from up-country”. Aso-Oke is a type of traditional attire that is unique to the Yoruba people in Nigeria. The fabric is usually worn on very special occasions and events such as wedding ceremonies and festivals. It is a type of material whose beauty is seen when worn by many people all at once and at the same time.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF ASO-OKE
In terms of origin and history, Aso-Oke is believed to have come into existence many centuries ago. The Yoruba people of Nigeria are credited with making Aso-Oke but it is said that three sub-ethnic groups are the original sources of this beautiful fabric. They are the Iseyin people of Oyo State, the Ede people of Osun State and the Okene people of Kogi State. These talented people source for their materials locally or they travel to the northern parts of Nigeria to get them.
GENERAL STEPS IN MAKING ASO-OKE
Also, before making Aso-Oke, the cotton to be used is prepared by separating the cotton seed from the wool. Next, the weaver spreads and rolls the wool around a loom. The wool is made to spin around the loom until it is used up.
At this point comes the creating of designs and patterns on the Aso-Oke fabric. The artisan requires all of the following materials to be able to make Aso-Oke: Aasa (strikers), Akata (propeller), Akawo (shortwheel), Gowu and kikgun (rollers), Iro (filler), Iye (long wheel), Okeke (axle), Oko (motor), Omu (extender), Sanrin (metallic peg) and some other useful items.
Finally, when all of the aforementioned materials are in place, the actual weaving process begins. The process is rather tedious and cumbersome to untrained and inexperienced hands, but an experienced artisan sees it as no challenge at all. For the latter, the beautiful end product makes the whole process worth it.
However, while the general name for the fabric is Aso-Oke, the outfits made from this beautiful material go by different names. The names given to the outfits made from Aso-Oke depends on various factors such as the style, design type and quality of the fabric.