How Olori Bags are Made

The making of every bag begins with aso-oke, a prestigious fabric of great cultural significance to the Yoruba people of Southwestern Nigeria. Aso-oke translates to “cloth from the hinterland,” or more literally, “top cloth,” and it is a very important fabric to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. While aso-oke weaving and wearing are native to the Yorubas, asooke has been widely adopted for use amongst other ethnic groups within the country and even outside.  It is the most prominent fabric used in social and cultural events in Nigeria. 

The cloth is said to have originated from the Iseyin people, a sub-group of the Yoruba ethnic group, in the 17th century. Aso-oke is also called “aso-ofi,” a name that references the production process; aso-oke is typically made on vertical or horizontal looms. While “aso” means “cloth,” “ofi” means “loom”.

The primary material used in aso-oke production is cotton. However, silk and synthetic yarns have also been adopted for use, depending on the type of aso-oke. The fabric is often used as a commissioned cloth, which symbolizes communal ties and solidarity, at special or important events. 

Production of aso-oke begins with planting and harvesting cotton. After harvest, the cotton goes through an assortment of processes to prepare it for weaving, the last of which is determining the colors and designs on the aso-oke. 

Not only is aso-oke prestigious; it carries social significance for the Yoruba people and it is also widely known to be durable and long lasting. The weaving of aso-oke, which is a painstaking process that has been passed on amongst weavers for centuries, is a reflection of our cultural heritage.

By incorporating traditional fabrics into modern design, our products invite women all over the world to experience the beauty and culture of Africa with an emphasis on craftsmanship, heritage, and legacy. Our goal is to build a brand that represents African cultures at the world stage, making them accessible to women all over the world, starting with handbags.