Aso-oke is the most prevalent Yoruba traditional attire. Deciding a colour combination and designs for traditional engagement is most confusing and challenging time during wedding planning for most Yoruba couples.
Aso-oke is the most popular yoruba traditional wedding attire. While every woman gets excited at the thought of buying a new outfit, for most Yoruba brides, choosing a colour combination and designs of aso-oke for traditional engagement is one of the most confusing and challenging time during wedding planning.
That’s because aso-oke fabrics are available in a wide array of sweet colours and designs that you’ll almost want every aso-oke you set your eyes on. After hours of analysis-paralysis of many different aso-oke colours and designs, some brides get confused and pick just any aso-oke for themselves and their husband-to-be.
Hopefully, our aso-oke pictures lookbook in the video above, will inspire you as you choose the best colours, pattern design and style of your wedding aso-oke.
Origin and History of Aso-Oke Fabric
Aso oke (pronounced: AH-SHAW-OKAY) is a patterned cloth, hand-woven by the Yoruba people of South-West Nigeria. Literally, aso-oke means ‘top cloth’ or ‘high cloth’ or “clothing for prestige’ / ‘prestigious cloth’(translated to English), and is a ceremonial clothing worn on special occasions during special such as chieftaincy ceremonies, parties, weddings, christening/ naming ceremony, traditional festivals and other important occasions. The aso-oke is also the cloth for royalty, worn by the Obas (Kings).
In case you wonder why the aso-oke was called the ‘top cloth’ or ‘clothing for prestige’, it may interest you to know that, aside from being a clothing attire, the aso-oke was worn as a symbol, or to showcase prestige and wealth.
Here’s how cloth weaving started with the Yoruba people. Back in the days, the Yoruba people had very big cotton farms, and processing of cotton to cloth was a source of livelihood for most cotton-farming families, as they were self-contained mini-textile industries. Then, almost every family member was involved in the production line – the women and children spinned the harvested cotton into threads, and also dyed the threads into various colours. Some men and women were skilled in craft of weaving the threads into cloth – the aso-oke cloth.
The aso-oke industry and demand has since grown so big that it is no longer dependent on cotton produced within the families. Today, the production of aso-oke has changed significantly – the big cotton farms have disappeared, along with the cotton spinners and thread dyers. The aso-oke weavers now source for imported ready-made threads with which to weave their aso-oke, and they are no longer confined to weaving aso-oke cloth with cotton; they now use other types of threads including silk, rayon and shiny metallic lurex (from Japan).