THE USE OF TRADITIONAL “ASO OKE” FOR CONSTRUCTING GARMENT FOR CONTEMPORARY YOUTH

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The production of traditional hand crafted textiles among the people of Africa is long rooted in their culture. These textiles are produced from locally sourced fibres they range from cotton, local silk, and hair of animalsto raffia, and are commonly used in weaving. „Aso-Oke‟ whichis a traditional hand woven fabric of the Yorubas who are the people of the south-western political zone of Nigeria. States in this zoneare, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, and Lagos States; few of them are found in parts of Kwara and Kogi States. (Ojo,2007).Makinde, Ajiboye and Ajayi, (2009) defined „Aso-Oke‟ asthe Yoruba traditional hand woven fabric, whichis a strip of cloth. Similarly, Alejo, (2012) stated that „Aso-Oke‟ means„Aso-Ilu Oke‟, meaning cloth from the up-country.„Aso-Ofi‟, being a rare name to the youths, means clothes from the loom. It is a fabric woven from traditional materials in Yoruba land. The weaving of ‟Aso-Oke‟ started centuries ago amongst the Yorubas, but predominantly amongst the people of Iseyin in Oyo-State. The cloth is made of pure cotton yarn, with the additional threads of heavy texture with contrasting colours to achieve decorative effect. The female youths are reluctant in wearing it and not appealing to them especially when presented as a garment, being coarse in texture, they feel uncomfortable in it. Makinde, Ajiboye and Ajayi(2009) further stated that „Aso-Oke‟ is also used to produce other articles like handbags, designer‟s shoes, ties and trims to design man‟s garments which can attract the youths and despite all these facts, they were not convinced to accept or appreciate „Aso-Oke‟ fabricfor frequent usage so there is need for its improvement, so as to be accepted by the youths for casual and special occasions. „Aso-Oke‟is used in a number of ways such as casual or ceremonial. Yoruba women use„Aso-Oke‟as girdle (Oja) to strap babies, wrapper (Iro), head-tie (Gele), blouse (Buba) and shawl (Ipele orIborun). While the men use it for Jumper (Dansiki) and Big Gown (Gbariye). Meanwhile, adaptation is a composition that has been recast into a new form. Williams, (2010) defined adaptation, as the changes in behavior of a response to a new or modified surroundings, is process of adjusting or make a garment different in sizes, it is modification of individual or collective behavior in adjusting to cultural surroundings, it is to make suitable to or fit for a specific use or situation, it is changed in order to improve or made more fit for a particular purpose. Adaptation is the process of changing a position to suit the new situation. In clothing construction, adaptation means transfer of basic pattern to another paper for alteration to construct styles. Okeke, (2009) stated that adaptation involves addition of details to the basic block pattern which include seams allowance, allowance for fullness such as pleats, gathers, tucks, shirring etc. position of surface enrichment like pocket position, position for openings. There is a dare need to preserve the Yorubaculture in terms of bringing back the use of „Aso-Oke‟for the purpose of job creation, cultural identity, economic improvement and reserved for ceremonies and special events. „Aso-Oke‟should be preserved for other generations through adequate use of it such as „Aso-Ebi‟and commemorative cloth at any relevant traditional and modern ceremonies. Toward attaining this, adaptation will have to be employed in its process and uses. Youth is a person within the period of childhood and adult age. It is a state of quality of being young especially as associated with vigor, freshness or immaturity, etc.DeGenova and Rice, (2002) explained that youth is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood‟s independence and awareness of our interdependence as members of a community. However, age is often significant in employment. Therefore “youth” is often indicated as a person between the age where 3 he/she may leave compulsory education, and the age at which he/she finds his/her first employment. Employment age keeps increasing as a result of unemployment and the cost of setting up an independent household puts many young people into a prolonged period of dependence. They are those persons between the ages of 15-24 years. The African youth charter defined youth as every person between the ages 15-35 years.

Statement of the Problem

Aso-Oke‟ fabric is associated with a lot of problems that makes it unacceptable totheyouths. The researcher observed that „Aso-Oke‟ is heavy; this may be because of the multiple yarns used in its weaving. This weave has double set of yarns which has about six plies in a yarn, in both warp and weft and any material made in such a way seems to be heavy. ‟Aso-Oke‟ cloth is made of cotton, local silk, goat wool to raffia which are not mercerized to reduce weight, and the addition of decorated pattern and effects with threads of heavier texture for contrasting colours, make the fabric heavier. (National Museum Liverpool, 2008). Furthermore, the researcher conducted a market survey in Oje market Ibadan and Oja-Oba market in Ilorin, the two most popular „Aso-Oke‟ markets in Yoruba land, dealing with this fabric and assessed the physical property of „Aso-Oke‟, by handling and feeling the texture, it was discovered that this „Aso-Oke‟ is actually heavy.