Behind the collection: how we use adire fabric to bring our designs to life

Behind the collection: how we use adire fabric to bring our designs to life

When we think about the journey our clothes have taken to get to you, it brings us so much joy. But what does it all mean?

What is adire fabric and how is it made?

Adire [ah-dee-reh] is the  magic

It’s a traditional fabric dyeing technique originating in Southwestern Nigeria that translates to ‘tied and dyed’ in Yoruba. But this isn’t your average tie-dye. In fact, this is the centuries old process that  inspired the psychedelic designs of the 60s

To create our adire fabric, we work with a skillful artisan named Omotayo, who’s based in a town called Ilesha, in Osun State, South-West Nigeria.

Omotayo starts with a length of plain white fabric, typically 5 yards at a time, and washes it to remove any starch before laying it to dry in the hot Nigerian sun. We choose to source the highest quality sustainable, ethically grown 100% cotton, so removing the starch is an essential first step. 

Then the transformation begins! Using a piece of pointed sponge, he draws intricate patterns with hot, molten wax. Wax that’s kept bubbling away in a large pot over flame, so he has to work fast to create the design before it hardens on the fabric. He’s quite the craftsman, our Omotayo.

The designs aren’t random, though. Each stroke has significance and meaning. Each shape is full of cultural significance and celebration of the Southwestern Yoruba tribe. 

The wax resists the indigo and natural dyes, much like batik. When he dips the fabric in our vibrant red and blue colours, it takes on its vivid hue, leaving the waxed areas untouched. When finished, you’ll see the intricate pattern left behind in the original white fabric.

All that’s left to do from there is wash the dyed fabrics in hot water to melt the wax, plunge them into cold water to remove any residue, and leave to dry. We’re obsessed with the results, it’s a true labour of love that can take a full day from start to finish.

When you wear our pieces, you’re wearing a piece of art, culture and heritage. Handmade, handcrafted, hand-drawn, bringing Nigerian tradition to British, modern design. 

Naming the collection: bringing Nigeria to Britain and beyond

What about the names of our clothes? There’s meaning there, too

Each piece in our debut collection gets its name from a place in Nigeria. The places represent key areas in which our founder, Bola, and her family grew up. Whether you’re Nigerian or not, this collection brings our vibrant culture to you! 


Osu Mini Skirt

 

Designed to hug your curves and celebrate your unique shape, the Osu skirt gets its name from the town in the region of Osun state. Previously famous for its fried bean cakes called akara (they’re a delicacy across Southwestern Nigeria), Osu brings nostalgia of Bola’s childhood and family trips.

Our Mini Skirt sits just above the waistline, curving down your shape to an a-line cut halfway down your thigh. It’s sexy, bold and versatile, bringing a splash of colour to your wardrobe. 

We love it paired with the Bodija asymmetric top, but it looks just as fierce layered under a chunky knit. 

Eko Blazer

 

Eko is the Yoruba name for Lagos, Nigeria's (and Africa’s) most populous city. And this blazer represents that city vibe: fast, resilient and exciting. Double-breasted for a flattering fit, this blazer works as a stand-alone piece or layered over a tee, blouse or dress. 


Ife Narrow Cigarette Trousers

The Yoruba people once considered Ifẹ̀, to be the birthplace of our world as we know it, the place of creation by the gods. What else would we name these trousers? The Cigarette cut demands attention, so grab your favourite heels and walk tall with these.

Ilesa Flared Trousers

A major gateway to the rest of the country, Ilesa is a rainforest area known for its hard-working people, Ijeshas. Much like the Osun state, these trousers mean business. They’re flattering on any shape thanks to a high waist and under the knee flare.

Odogbolu Blazer Dress

Named after a small village in Ogun state, this blazer dress is a power-dressing powerhouse. Its belted wrap design will hug your waist and show off your gorgeous shape.

Demand the attention your bold personality deserves!

 


Bodija Asymmetric Top

A district in Ibadan, Oyo State, Bodija lends its name to our Asymmetric Top. A cultural hive with many markets and places to explore!

Designed to be worn off the shoulder, the wide collar adds a burst of vibrancy to your wardrobe. Pair with jeans for everyday casual, or with the Osu Mini Skirt – trust us, it’s a mood.

Ikeja Wrap Top

The wrap design of this sleeveless top allows you to accentuate your shape on your terms, with the lapel wrapping just under the bust.

It takes its name from Ikeja, the capital of Lagos state, home to some of Nigeria's largest cotton textile plants.

Wear it alone in the summer, or layered in the winter. It’s a year round staple, this one.


Which is your favourite? Tag us on Instagram @toomeyandkoko to show us.


Shop the collection now.

 

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