Aso Oke the legendary ceremonial outfit of the Yoruba people


Aso oke is a hand-woven cloth that is designed and fabricated by the yoruba people of south west Nigeria and it is held in high esteem especially during ceremonies such as weddings, funerals,naming ceremonies and most especially worn by the royals too and during coronation and chieftancy ceremonies.

Aso oke is an outfit the yoruba take pride in which also denotes high status in the affluent individuals as there are grades to the traditional cloth.

The Yoruba people in western Nigeria includes people from Kwara , Kogi , Ondo, Oyo , Ogun, Ekiti , Lagos , and Osun States.
However, the states that are mainly into its production includes Ede in Osun State, Okene in Kogi State and  Iseyin in Oyo State.

It’s also interesting to know that the way we have our formal or semi formal dresses worn on a daily basis which includes shirt, skirts, pants/ trousers, there is also an interpretation of it in aso oke as men have thier own outfit as agbada, sokoto and fila ( the top, the trouser and the hat) and women also have theirs in buba, iro, gele and iborun/ipele (blouse, wrapper/ wrap skirt, head tie and the shawl).

I am sure that you would like to know the compositions or the materials that are used in making the esteemed aso oke.
Yes! let me inform you that it is woven from three materials namely cotton, a red imported silk called ‘alari’ and a domestic wild raw silk called ‘sanyan’ however in recent times, these materials are often replaced by rayon and metallic lurex.

Then I am also sure you would be wondering how it is manufactured; the cloth is made by weaving one forty foot or more four inch band of cloth in a loom.
This long piece is then taken to a tailor who cuts it into pieces, sews it together, and sometimes does embroidery on it.

Types of Aso Oke

Basically, there are three types of Aso oke and they are mainly based on the material type and the colours defining them.

1 Sanyan

Often referred to by the yorubas as ‘baba aso’ (king of fabrics) is a pale brown and woven from the beige silk. The beige silk is obtained from the anaphe wild silk and cotton yarns. It is often used for funerals and weddings.

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Aso oke sanyan

2 Alari

Arari is the deep red colour of Aso oke and is woven from magenta waste silk.
It is woven with either synthetically or locally grown cotton and shinning threads, also sometimes with perforated patterns.


3 Etu

Etu stands for guinea fowl. It is indigo and deep blue dyed that comes with tiny light blue stripes often and also in tiny white stripes. It is said that the cloth resembles the colour of the guinea fowl’s plumage.

Etu is also remarkable for its simplicity

Aso oke etu worn by a couple

As a way of modernizing aso oke in recent times, new techniques and production methods have been looked into to eliminate the weight and thickness of the aso oke cloth, and to make it more accessible for casual wear also some designers have gone the extra mile to ensure that they produce some stunning designs you cannot resist.

So, are you looking forward to having a ceremonial event soon? do well to rock the party with your unique aso oke and I am sure you will love it.

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