THE ORIGINAL TIE & DYE

Adire textile is a resist-dyed cloth originating from the Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria. Scholarly opinions hold that the origin of Adire is unknown, but is believed to have been in production as early as the 12th century. Adire translates as tie and dye in the Yoruba language; the technique was first applied to indigo-dyed cloth decorated with resist-patterns. The symbols represented on the cloth created and standardized aspects of the people’s culture, drawn from history, legends, myths, proverbs, folklores, and deep observation of their environment. The particular ethical/regional traditions of the Adire cloth were characterized by special weaving techniques. Motifs of Adire are taught by mothers to daughters within dyeing families from generation to generation. During the 20th century, local tastes began to prefer the Kampala technique; a multi-colored wax-resist cloth, which eventually signaled the decline of the Adire’s popularity. However, there has been a recent revival of the Adire art by Nigerian designers such as Maki-Oh and Doru Olowo.