Adire Skills Acquisition Nationwide: Preserving Heritage and Empowering Artisans

Adire Skills Acquisition Nationwide: Preserving Heritage and Empowering Artisans

Adire Oodua Textile Hub was established in 2021 as an empowerment project, aimed at developing and building the capability of artisans while serving as a skills acquisition centre for women and youth in Ile-Ife and its environs. Our goal is to utilize the heritage textile Adire as a tool for youth employment and wealth creation for women in rural areas.

Since our inception, we have directly and indirectly trained up to 1200 youths and women in Adire making. We just recruited another set of 30 youths from Ife for free training. Some of these individuals have been retained to work with us, while others have gone on to set up their own small-scale Adire businesses. Given the current state of youth unemployment in the country, with many graduates unable to secure white-collar jobs, learning vocational skills like Adire making is crucial. To this end, we partner with universities such as Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and King’s University to offer free training to youths in Adire-making skills. Our training covers various types of Adire making, including Adire Eleko, Adire Oniko, Adire Alabere, and Adire Alabela.

The history of Adire is deeply rooted in the Yoruba culture and tradition, as it was first developed by Orunmila, the Patron Deity of Ifa. According to the Ifa corpus, Orunmila was inspired by God to develop the textile technology of Adire, using different patterns and resistant methods. This ancient craft passed down to women thousands of years ago, was designed as a wealth creation process. It is said that anyone who ventures into the business of Adire making will always find success. This history highlights the connection between Adire and Ile-Ife, the ancestral home of the Yoruba people.

As an African fashion expert, textile entrepreneur, ambassador of African culture, advocate for girls’ education, and author, all my projects are interconnected, revolving around our heritage and culture. My Africa Fashion Weeks have been running for 13 years, showcasing African narratives through fashion and linking creativity to business. Africa Fashion Week London, founded in 2011, has become a platform that spotlights the talents and aspirations of African designers, celebrating the diversity of African culture.

The Adire Oodua Textile Hub holds a special place in my heart, considering the uniqueness of Adire fabrics and the craftsmanship involved in their making. Each Adire design is unique, reflecting the artisan’s dedication and skill. Adire is gaining global recognition, no longer limited to the Yoruba or Nigerian markets. This was evident at the recent Africa Fashion Week Brazil Expo and Africa Fashion Week London 2022 Expo, where Adire took centre stage.

Under the chairmanship of the Ooni of Ife, the Adire Oodua Textile Training Hub has impacted the lives of many women and youths. Through grants offered by His Imperial Majesty, we have trained numerous young people in Adire making, enabling them to earn a sustainable living. With the demand for Adire increasing both locally and internationally, learning vocational skills like Adire making is highly advisable. Adire has the potential to be Nigeria’s fabric, similar to how Kente is identified with Ghana. Positioning Adire in this way could create jobs, generate wealth, and boost Nigeria’s GDP significantly.

Adire represents more than just a fabric; it embodies our history, culture, and heritage. By preserving and promoting Adire, we not only sustain ancient Yoruba craftsmanship but also tell our story to the world. Adire has the potential to drive economic growth, promote cultural heritage, and create a lasting legacy for future generations.

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