Ibadan’s Tailors, Traders, and Textiles by Folake Shoga

The question of how people anywhere get their everyday clothing is a huge subject involving client/supplier relations; trade links and market organisation; fashion, tradition, taste and pleasure; and economic trends and development. The following stories present a personal snapshot of the intricate web of relationships and heritage that underlie the largely informal economy of fashion. This took place in Ibadan, Nigeria, October 2016, following a significant family celebration. About the transcribed interviews: West African English is pithy, expressive and flexible and I have done my best to represent the idiom accurately and respectfully. Names have been changed apart from Ayoola Adedokun.

Cecilia Adekoya a fashion designer and seamstress who makes beautiful African dresses was the first person I spoke to. I make my clothes with her when I am in Ibadan. She's been tailoring for my family for around 30 years. She represents the traditional link in the textile - tailor - trade value web.

Ayoola Adedokun is the face of modern Nigeria - youthful, college educated, entrepreneurial, enterprising. He's a trained accountant but scarcity of white collar jobs compelled him to return to his hobby, which has now become his primary business. He's surprised to find himself an up and coming fashion brand, but committed to growing the brand.

Lanre Ogunleye stylist, trader, broker, and maker - In our parlance, Lanre would be an expert consultant, whose eye for style and design make her the go to choice among friends and relatives for advice on fabrics, colours, style, and even liaising with traders and tailors to help ensure the best finished pieces.

Three Ibadan ladies talk about their choices in tailoring and fashion.

an adire excursion – shopping for trimmings – glossary and links

Folake Shoga is a Nigerian/British artist whose practice spans a number of disciplines. She writes about Live Art using the name Osunwunmi.