The aso-oke fabric, designs, patterns and colours have evolved over time to create some of the most elegant and prestigious textile in the World. While such changes added a high cost to aso-oke, it also increased its appeal to the internationally market. Aso-oke is now worn all over Nigeria and outside too. And, you can still find the classic, traditional aso-oke sold in Nigeria.
Back in the days, the traditional weavers made aso-oke in three main colours – blue (called ‘etu’), crimson red (called ‘alaari’), and brown (‘sanyan’). At that time, the aso-oke designs were mainly stripes – blue stripes or red stripes or brown stripes.
Production of Aso-oke
Have you ever wondered ‘how is aso-oke fabric is produced’? ‘Aso oke’ cloth is woven on a narrow loom. The end product is a 40-foot strip of cloth. Traditionally, aso-oke is sold in strips of narrow cloth – just the way they are produced. The buyer would then find a tailor to join the pieced together, in order to make a full cloth. Today, you can still find aso-oke cloth packaged in the classic traditional way or you can buy strips of the woven cloth from one of many retailers who sell already-joined, complete aso-oke cloth.
Different Types and Designs of Aso-Oke Fabrics
There are many different types of aso-oke fabrics in the market. However, back in the days, there was only 3 types, differentiated only by colours. At that early time, there were just three main aso-oke colours, traditionally – etu aso-oke (dark blue with stripes), alaari baba aso-oke, and Sanyan/ Soyon aso-oke (brown, with stripes pattern). These are still available, as the classic, traditional aso-oke designs.
Today’s aso-oke fabrics and designs are more colourful, bling-bling and light-weight than the early, classic aso-oke fabric designs. Today, the aso-oke cloth weavers are sourcing assorted types of thread looms and colours, so aso-oke types have increased. The new types of aso-oke are categorized based on their weave designs, pattern and thread types, and they include:
- Cotton weave aso-oke design
- Double weave aso-oke design
- Damask aso-oke
- Lace aso-oke (net lace, ordinary lace)
- Handcut aso-oke design (looks and feels like lace fabric)
- Kente aso-oke (Kente-oke)
- Metallic aso-oke
- Metallic aso-oke
- Net aso-oke design
- Normal net design
- Super-net aso-oke
- Silk aso-oke
- Cotton aso-oke
- Wire aso-oke
- Aso-oke with Print art work design
- Aso-oke with Monogramming
- …And many others.
Fashion and Styles of Wearing Aso-Oke Clothing
The aso-oke is produced and sold in pieces of cloth, so that the buyer would sew them to fit his/ her own size. The aso-oke styles are classic – the men make their aso-oke in a similar style, and similar style, and the women’s aso-oke styles are sewn in the same fashion.
ASO-OKE STYLES FOR WOMEN: Women’s aso oke style is traditionally a four-piece outfit consisting of a wrapper (called iro), a blouse (buba), a shawl (Ipele or Iborun) and a headtie (called “Gele”). Most women also use part of the aso-oke to sew a blouse/ top, called “iro”. The shawl is placed over the shoulder or tied round the waist.